OPINION: Long-awaited Cannabis Act review leaves gaps for industry 

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On Oct. 17, 2018, Canada turned the primary G7 nation to legalize leisure hashish. With the potential of being a world chief on this house, the business has since confronted quite a few hurdles navigating an excessively advanced regulatory surroundings.

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Whereas the long-awaited federal evaluation of the Hashish Act is lastly underway, there are some lacking items from the evaluation that will go away the sector with continued challenges.

On the optimistic facet, the evaluation units out to handle the unique intent of the Hashish Act: eliminating the unlawful market and stopping youth from accessing hashish. As well as, it would revisit the social fairness mandate for hashish legalization, which was not initially included within the Act.

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On the draw back, it fully exempts wholesale distribution, which incorporates all retail shops and accounts for a good portion of the hashish sector. Whereas wholesale and distribution technically fall underneath provincial purview, the federal evaluation provides a singular alternative to judge the effectiveness of every province’s and territory’s regulatory method.

For instance, Alberta’s authorities, which runs wholesale distribution, fees a 6% markup to retailers whereas the Ontario Hashish Retailer (OCS), the Ontario authorities’s wholesaler and distributor, fees a 30% markup to retailers.

The Saskatchewan authorities has taken a completely totally different method by permitting licensed producers and retailers to have a direct industrial relationship. This enables them to find out their very own product and pricing combine, making a extra numerous and aggressive retail market

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The examples above illustrate the significance of why a provincial evaluation of wholesale and distribution is essential to making sure the authorized sector can compete on value and displace the unlawful market, a battle at present being misplaced in a number of Canadian provinces and territories.

Ontario’s Auditor Basic performed a evaluation of the OCS in December 2021. Of their report, they outlined a variety of vulnerabilities together with pricing fashions, how the OCS manages knowledge and oversight of their supply service companion.

Regardless of flagging these points almost a yr in the past, a current cyberattack introduced your complete province’s wholesale and supply system to a halt. This additional demonstrates why these critiques are important, however solely as efficient because the motion taken by authorities in response to their findings.

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Moreover, the shortage of readability between the federal and provincial businesses continues to trigger inconsistent enforcement and confusion for business.

For example, required window coverings have created doubtlessly harmful working environments which might be the right cowl for robberies and violence. A number of violent crimes at hashish retailers might have been prevented in Canada with easy clarification about this part of the Hashish Act.

Whereas a cautious method from federal and provincial regulators was comprehensible on the outset of this nascent business, ongoing critiques and motion on these critiques will likely be essential to enact the crucial broader reforms.

It’s our hope that every one ranges of presidency proceed to work intently with business to make sure we are able to efficiently displace the unlawful market and make Canada a world chief in leisure hashish.

— Nathan Mison is president of Diplomat Consulting and co-chair of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce’s Ontario Hashish Coverage Council; Michelle Eaton is vp of public affairs for the Ontario Chamber of Commerce. @misonnathan  @michellelyeaton

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