Pot Legalization is Around the Corner – We Don't Know What to Expect?

September 06, 2018, Kitchener, Ontario

Posted by: Robert Deutschmann, Personal Injury Lawyer

There has been a lot of turmoil within the government about how exactly legal pot is going to work. Until the start of summer the plan was that the LCBO would handle the distribution through stores. The locations had been leased and computer systems were already designed and being purchased. A lot of time and money had gone into the distribution and control of marijuana, and presumably the same system would have distributed other drugs as they were legalized.

The new government threw that system out, and is advocating retail stores be permitted to sell the marijuana. Coffee chains, beer manufacturers and food manufacturers are all positioning themselves in the market to reap what they see as a windfall of profits. The government has released no detailed information though and this is leaving law enforcement, municipalities, and retail outlets in limbo. Many details have not been released which are required for planning for the imminent date:

  • What will be legal?
  • Hours of sales?
  • Permitted locations?
  • Minimum Price?
  • Acceptable proofs of Age?

This is just the beginning of the list.

Also left out of any public announcement is the plan for enforcement for the online outlets which will be left to entice people to stay with them. Police have been investigating contests being run for “Free Weed For a Year”. Experts believe that after legalizations there will be more of these sorts of campaigns and contests. Reporter Alex McKeen from the StarMetro paper said in an interview that he had been approached and offered a free joint from an online dispensary in a public place and was not asked for proof of age. As we know this is not permitted currently with alcohol sales.

Currently, people with a prescription can get their drugs from dispensaries, those without can shop the black market and online. The online and physical dispensaries are now bracing for changes. There has been no information given to existing dispensaries as to how they can become legal under any new regime.

The vacuum in policy is leaving the public and business in an information vacuum. It is also causing problems for municipalities in terms of planning for the development of the industries.

The Star Halifax published an article earlier this year that you may find interesting on the free giveaways of pot.

‘Free weed for a year’ contest being investigated by Halifax police

By The Canadian Press
Tues., April 17, 2018

Halifax police say they’re looking into a contest by a chain of East Coast smoke shops that promises four winners “free weed for a year.”

Mary Janes, which has a store in St. John’s, N.L., and three stores in Nova Scotia, is promoting the contest on social media and say the draw will be made the day marijuana becomes legal in Canada.

Customers must make a purchase to get a ballot.

Employees at one of the chain’s two Halifax-area outlets say there has been lots of interest, but didn’t have details on the amount to be won, or the legality of it. They say the stores only sell smoking paraphernalia and have no intention to market cannabis. The owner of the stores did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In an email, Halifax police say the federal legislation will allow only provincially appointed entities to sell and distribute cannabis.

“Presently it is illegal for any person, business or entity to sell, give or distribute cannabis unless authorized by the federal government,” Const. Carol McIsaac wrote. Each province and territory is developing its own legal regime for cannabis production and consumption.

The four western provinces have chosen to allow private retail operators to sell cannabis, while Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island plan to sell it only through existing provincial liquor control outlets. Newfoundland and Labrador has issued a call for interested retailers.

Canadians will have to wait until at least early August — and maybe as late as early September — to legally purchase recreational marijuana. That’s the bottom line after senators struck a deal to hold a final vote by June 7 on the legislation that will usher in the legal cannabis regime.

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