#CanadaCannabis: The Second And Largest Country To Legalize Marijuana
Canada made a revolutionary move on Wednesday October 17th as the second and largest country to legalize the adult use of marijuana. On Twitter hashtags like #legalizationday #canadacannabis and #weedwednesday were trending and the world watched as Canadians enjoyed the legal purchase and consumption of cannabis. While the federal government in Canada helped establish an extensive framework of the legal cannabis law, provinces and territories were left to nail out some of the details. Let’s take a look at what legal cannabis looks like for Canada:
What’s The Difference?
The new Canadian law allows for people 18 years or older to purchase marijuana in retail stores or even online. Regulated by each province, the online marketplace is a great asset for individuals in any cities that might propose a ban on pot shops.
Some provinces are left up to establish a legal purchase age of 18 or 19, as well as decide whether to sell through government-run shops or private outlets. The Canadian cannabis law allows for residents to grow up to four marijuana plants (excluding the provinces Quebec and Manitoba), with no limit to how much cannabis product and cured flower individuals can store in their home.
In the U.S. the recreational age for consuming cannabis in legalized states is 21, which matches the drinking age. Similar to Canada’s law which sets a 30-gram limit of possessing cannabis in public, the US also allows for 30-grams in states with legal pot for all but one, Maine’s limit is 2.5 ounces (71 grams). Unlike Canada’s far-reaching cultivation law, home-growing of up to six plants is legal in only a handful of U.S. states including California, Nevada, Alaska and Colorado.
One thing the United States does have is a vast market of is marijuana-infused foods and concentrates, which is not available in the Canadian market until next year. Currently legal pot shops and online marketplaces are only allowed to sell dried cannabis flower, tinctures, capsules and seeds as of Wednesday.
Robust Federal Regulations
While legal weed sounds easy, the market is actually changing rapidly as Canada takes on some new responsibilities on how to promote, tax and regulate the new industry. Consumers pay federal taxes totaling $1 pre gram or 10 percent, whichever is more, as well as local sales taxes and markups. The federal government keeps one-quarter of the tax and the rest goes to the provinces who help oversee distribution.
Canada so far has licensed some 120 growers, whom distributors will buy wholesale marijuana from and deliver to retail store or online to customers. Helping control the prices of cannabis, while keeping it competitive to the black market, Canada’s government involvement could also extensively help with preventing overproduction of cannabis; thus ensuring the viability of licensed producers.
Canada is not only shaping the regulation standards for the world but also the marketing requirements connected with legal cannabis use. There are strict regulations on packaging cannabis products to avoid appealing the youth and even a ban on many types of advertising. Anything that could be tempting to minors or the use of celebrity figures is forbidden. Companies will need to promote a product that some consumers may have never (legally) tried before without using common marketing techniques.
This is something very different than the U.S. where the appeal to cannabis is mainly in pop culture, celebrities and vice versa. Where the United States thrives on marketing cannabis as a culture, Canadian companies will have to search for new and innovative ways to market a lively cannabis lifestyle.
By: Natalya Upshur