Canada Legalizes Recreational Marijuana


Recreational possession and use of cannabis became officially legal in Canada on Wednesday with shops in the country’s easternmost provinces being the first to make sales to hundreds of people.

Canada becomes the first major economy and second country after Uruguay to legalize recreational pot. Lawmakers in the country passed a bill in June that allows adults of at least 18 years old to possess and carry up to 30 grams of legal weed in public.

In addition, the bill allows people to make weed products like edibles for personal use and grow up to four plants in their homes. The government has also amended its impaired driving laws to tackle consequences for driving under the influence of marijuana.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau played a key role in the legalization. During the campaign period, he promised to have the drug legalized saying it would help curb marijuana-related crimes. However, some health care professionals in the country are worried that marijuana use could cause serious issues.

Legalization offers a suitable market to test the Canadian cannabis industry that is expected to make sales of more than $4.3 billion annually, according to a report by Deloitte.

Greg McLeish, an analyst at Mackie Research estimates that roughly 19% of marijuana users in Canada consume the substance in one form or another, compared with the 4% global average. The country will have consumed 810,000 kilograms of marijuana, or C$6.5 billion in revenue annually by 2020, according to CIBC.

The analyst estimated that it would require 16.6 days to satisfy cannabis demand in the province of Quebec, if the 12 stores open on October 17 continue operating for 12 hours daily after legalization. He also predicts that the 500 stores currently present in Ontario would need 14.8 days to fulfill the demand for cannabis products under the same conditions.

MarketWatch says that companies within the cannabis industry appear ready for what is expected to be a rocky beginning. Cannabis products such as pre-rolled joints and dried flower are available for purchase in brick-and-mortar stores and online. However, edibles will not be legal until sometime next year.

Bruce Linton, Canopy Growth Corp. CEO believes that pot consumers will now prefer to use more money to buy the products from legal sellers as opposed to purchasing from illegal dealers. He is also looking forward to developing public debates around marijuana and intensifying research on the substance.

On Wednesday, the Canopy founder took a five-hour flight to Newfoundland island where he made the first legal sale of cannabis to Ian Power and Nikki Rose. “For me, it just proves that Canadians are open to this, they’re ready for this. It’s not like, ‘Oh my God. look at that sketchy character’. Everybody wants to understand it. They don’t like ignoring it,” Linton said after making the sale.

Some analysts are forecasting a shortage of recreational cannabis this year as licensing and production continue to increase to cater for the rising demand. Canada currently has more than 120 federally licensed producers.