Canadian Cannabis Regulations

Canadian Cannabis Regulations Are A Mix of Capitalism and Nanny State

Canadian Cannabis Regulations – A Tale of Two Canadas

Now that the Canadian Cannabis Regulations have been nailed down by most of the provinces, Canadians can take some comfort that we won’t be thrust into the abyss of reefer madness come July 1, or any other date when they all finally get up and running. The focus is absolutely on control and harm reduction as opposed to access and market development. You won’t see many operations like the one shown below outside of the Western provinces.

Canadian Cannabis Regulations Won't Allow Most Canadians to enjoy an experience like this Pineapple Express Store
Credit: Designboom.com

Some of the provinces are still accepting retail applications as of writing this, so there’s no way we will have a fully functioning distribution system when the switch gets turned on. Nunavut doesn’t have a plan and won’t until 2019 which makes my earlier predictions not that far off.

Here are the regulations broken down by province. The one thing that must be pointed out is that the government has set up a system where they will both control supply and prices, and reap the majority of the profits. By establishing monopoly distribution entities who will rest between the Licensed Producers and the cannabis retailers, they ensure they can drive their supply price down (due to their monopoly buying power; LP’s won’t have anywhere else to sell their weed) and given that the retailers can only buy from them, they get to set the floor price at retail indirectly.

Canadian Cannabis Regulations by Province (Adult Use; Non-medicinal)

Prov Legal Age Limits Retail Approach Distributor Home Grow Consumption Restrictions Online Sales?
 BC  19  30 g  Gov’t + Private (won’t limit how many)  Government  4 plants. Landlords may prohibit  Same as tobacco  Gov’t Only
 AB  18  30 g  Private  “  “  “
 SK  19  30 g  Private  None. LPs sell direct to retail  No motor vehicles or public places  Retailer Websites
 MB  19  30 g  4 Private entities  Government Prohibited  No motor vehicles  Retailer Websites
 ON  19  30 g  Government (40 stores at start)  Government  4 plants.  No vehicles, enclosed public spaces, or workplaces.  Government
 PQ  18  30 g  Government  Government  Prohibited  No workplaces, post-secondary institutions, enclosed public spaces. Government
 NB  18  30 g  Government  Government  4 plants. Must be in locked enclosure  Private homes (consent of occupant required).  Government
 PEI  19  30 g  Government  Government  4 plants  Private homes only.  Government
 NS  19  30 g  Government  Government  4 plants  No indoor public places or most outdoor public places.  Government
 NL  19  30 g  Private  Government  4 plants Private homes only.  Government
 NU  19  30 g Online Only until 2019  Government  4 plants No vehicles, schools, hospitals, playgrounds, or where tobacco smoking is prohibited.  Government
 NT  19  30 g Government  Government  4 plants No vehicles or where smoking is prohibited  Government
 YT  19  30 g Government first. Private Later.  Government  4 plants Private Residences and their grounds  Government

Of course the medical cannabis regime is, for now at least, quite separate. That system currently allows for Licensed Producers to ship directly to customers, bypassing the government. It remains to be seen whether patients – who won’t have any access to medical cannabis through brick and mortar stores – will move over the the adult use system. Given that there are taxes on medical cannabis, and the lack of any retail access, this is quite likely. Eliminating taxation of cannabis for medical purposes, and more ubiquitous insurance coverage for it, will be required to keep a vibrant, patient-focused medical system in place.