The die is cast, the cat is out of the bag. Starting from September 1st, recreational marijuana can be bought legit in Canada. After regulating medicinal marijuana in 2001 already, another law was approved yesterday legalizing recreational marijuana as well. "It’s been too easy for our kids to get marijuana - and for criminals to reap the profits. Today, we change that. Our plan to legalize & regulate marijuana just passed the Senate", a proud premier Justin Trudeau stated on Twitter.
Unsurprisingly, the cannabis growers' responses are pretty euphoric. "This is a historic milestone for our industry and for our country that will reverberate around the world as Canada solidifies its progressive leadership on cannabis.", Vic Neufeld of Aphria states. "We are pleased to now have a regulatory framework for adult-use cannabis in place that sets the groundwork for the continuing evolution of this rapidly expanding industry". Chris Wagner, CEO at Emerald Health Therapeutics, agrees. “Today is a historic moment for Canada with the government’s approval of the Cannabis Act, which will provide a new legal framework and establish Canada as a globally recognized leader of cannabis legalization. We are the first G7 country to federally legalize cannabis for medicinal and recreational use. Moving forward, the world will look to Canada when developing their own rules and regulations."
The legislation isn't quite unexpected: Trudeau announced it during his election campaign in 2015 already. Therefore quite a shift has been made in Canadian horticulture. According to insiders in the market, over 250 acres has already been retrofitted for cannabis cultivation. The acreage where cannabis is currently already being grown is only known by Health Canada, which grants the licenses, but a minimum of 100 acres is a good guess.
Veggies to pot
What will the legislation mean for the horticultural industry? Over the last couple of years, several growers made the switch already
and many investments have been made so far. The Canadian branch of Havecon for example has been in the market for many years now, providing complete growing solutions for the marijuana industry. "Up until recently only for the medicinal market," CEO Henk Verbakel explains. "But that has changed. The question hasn't been whether legalization would happen, but when it would happen. Therefore several entrepreneurs invested in this new market already, and we do not expect this number to decrease."
Arnold de Kievit with LED supplier Oreon agrees. "The market will grow for sure, with more investors entering it and more participants joining in as well." Oreon is currently installing lights in quite a few large-scale, Canadian projects. "Retrofittings from vegetable crops, but also new projects are being built, both greenhouses and indoor farms. Even though Canada is a big country, the population is relatively small. I expect quite an amount of the grown cannabis will be exported to Europe, for example. In some European countries growing cannabis is illegal, but using it is allowed."
Currently the recreational use of marijuana is legalized in 7 American states, with edibles like cookies and candy such as gummies being popular. So far this hasn't been legalized in Canada. Candies, baked goods and other edible products containing marijuana will, initially at least, continue to be banned. Provinces will determine how the cannabis will be sold to cunsumers: via government operated stores or via private sector retailers. The minimum age will be 18 or 19 and for home-growers up to 4 plants will be permitted.