Industry Faces Hurdles, So Cannabis Act Ready for Review IG News

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Nearly four years after legalizing cannabis in Canada, the federal government will announce its plans Thursday for a long-pending review of the country’s Cannabis Act.

The legislative review was due about 12 months ago, and calls for reform are echoing from coast to coast.

According to Health Canada, “Legislative review should study the impact of the Act on public health. Specifically, it should look at the impact on young individuals’ health and consumption habits in relation to cannabis.”

With so many unlicensed weed providers operating across the country as well as on online store fronts, few industry leaders are telling the government that consumers’ health and wellbeing are being put at risk.

When weed was legalized across Canada in October 2018, it sparked a “green rush,” but there are now growing fears that some parts of Canada’s cannabis industry could go up in smoke.

CTV National News spoke with Canopy Growth, the former CEO of Cannabis, president of the Cannabis Council of Canada and a brand partnership specialist who currently works for a company that is connecting consumers to black market products.

While nearly everyone working in the marijuana game agrees that wholesale changes are needed, achieving consensus on how to proceed has remained elusive.

Industry complaints range from sky-high taxes, government redundancies and advertising restrictions to the proliferation of the black market.

LeafThings, an online cannabis directory, was recently awarded the “Best Innovative Technology” award at a national industry gala, although their big win became prominent mainly because the products they offer online are available to licensed companies and companies. Unregulated retailers come from both – which lawmakers still point to as illegal.

Nima Derak, the company’s director of brand partnerships, identifies those in the black market as “independent operators who want to enter the market – most of these people want to enter the (legal) market but are facing financial constraints from the government.” Because they’re really struggling.”

In major urban areas across the country, regulated pot shop owners are sounding the alarm, claiming that provincial governments are handing out too many retail licenses, resulting in city streets flooding with shops. Look no further than Toronto, which now has more weed stores than Tim Hortons locations.

“A lot of these mom-and-pop businesses are going to go bankrupt, they’re going to lose their life savings,” says Derk, although many legal, regulated cannabis store owners point to the black market as a big part of the problem. are. ,

George Smitherman, president of the Cannabis Council of Canada, believes that “the playing field is nowhere close to level. There are illegal retail store fronts, there are also plenty of illegal delivery services that are largely ignored (by the authorities). goes.

A report commissioned by the Cannabis Council of Canada states that in Ontario, every gram of weed is taxed by the provincial and federal governments collectively by more than 27 percent. An additional markup of about 19 percent is then enforced by the Ontario government—that’s all, before the product is on the market for sale. Smitherman claims, “No other sector can deal with the tax deduction.”

Meanwhile the black market is going on without paying a single penny in taxes for their products. Smitherman believes that officials and prosecutors must find a way to shut down the illegal operations. “There is a significant body of regulation, but there isn’t enough legislation on the books to stop outright illegal operators and nobody is doing anything about it,” he said.

Largely regulated growers and cannabis growers are also finding themselves with a smaller piece of the pot pie, with massive layoffs and declining shares of large Canadian industry players such as Aurora Cannabis and Canopy Growth.

Canopy Growth’s stock peaked at about $70 in 2019, falling to nearly $4 per share today. The company declined our request for an interview, but their former CEO, Bruce Linton, sat down with CTV National News to note that Canopy’s “actual sales numbers, the dollar of cannabis sold, have declined while the market.” growing. So they’re actually selling less total revenue.”

Linton wants to see government restrictions on marketing and advertising eased so that regulated producers and producers can compete with the black market, which has no limits on the packaging or potency of their food products.

“If you want a legal, regulated, secure system to be successful, it needs to be able to sell a product that you can identify, associate with, and build from,” Linton says.

Derek and his colleagues at LeafThings believe that everyone has a way of being successful. He is calling for a “system similar to the Canadian Food Standards, where producers and brands are able to maintain samples of their product, and send samples to independent laboratories for testing and to distribute directly to regulated businesses.” He also claims that many black market businesses will be open to paying taxes if “overreaching” government regulations are removed.

Smitherman, who was previously the health minister in Ontario, believes Derk and others are “trying to make the illegal market better for themselves,” not the industry and consumers as a whole.

“Our focus is on consumers of legal age, giving them the right to choose where and what they buy from,” Derk fired back, pointing out that Canada’s cannabis industry “as a whole” There’s a $6 billion market and we’re neglecting half.” Market. It’s time to bring in that money and start contributing to Canadian society. ,

When cannabis was first legalized in Canada, the federal government downloaded regulatory responsibilities to each provincial government, creating a patchwork system with different laws and regulations depending on where you are in the country.

For an industry that watches its wheels as the world turns, all eyes will now be on the Canadian government’s review of the Cannabis Act. In an email to CTV National News, Health Canada states that “the government is committed to implementing a credible, evidence-driven process for legislative review that will assess progress toward achieving the objectives of the Cannabis Act.” “

With the government set to announce its plans for how to review the Cannabis Act, Aurora Cannabis this week reported a fourth-quarter loss of more than $600 million.

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