Ontario has issued its plans for how to implement cannabis legalization once it becomes national law, and we believe there is much to champion in the province’s approach towards building a smart regulatory framework that benefits consumers, businesses and government.
As owners of cannabis grow facilities in different provinces, we are eager to begin working with regulatory bodies as they begin drafting rules. We of course fully embrace rules that provide wide latitude to consumers and businesses, but we also endorse a framework that offers clear and sturdy structure to the ways in which we conduct business, shop and consume. Ontario’s efforts reflect a legacy of hard work on the part of provincial staff and quite a bit of regulatory savvy.
This has been a long time coming.
The decades-long demonization of cannabis, as we all know, was misguided and, frankly, absurd. This plant offers the world far too much — everything from avenues towards medical treatment to the same sort of social stimulus provided by lager and cabernet.
With legal cannabis in its fourth year in the United States (both Colorado and Washington rolled-out legal cannabis in 2014) we have much to examine, in terms of the plant’s social impacts. So far, cannabis sales have pumped millions of dollars into state tax coffers, jumpstarted the nation’s fastest-growing industry, offered thousands of jobs and filled warehouses and storefronts that formerly were vacant with commercial activity. Meanwhile, legalization has not led to boosted crime rates, escalating youth cannabis use (in fact, some studies suggest youth cannabis use in legal marijuana states is declining) or emerging health problems.
Studies are conflicting about whether legal cannabis has led to increased traffic accidents and fatalities. Either way, like all responsible cannabis advocates we believe cannabis use, like drinking alcohol, does not mix with driving. And thus we are pleased to see Ontario address potential issues surrounding cannabis and driving with well-considered regulations.
Our enthusiasm for Ontario’s cannabis regulatory framework does not suggest we believe there is not room for improvement. The process is just beginning, and we look forward to engaging with regulators and stakeholders about important issues ranging from the kinds of products available (including cannabis sold in edible form) to the distribution of legal cannabis stores throughout the province, workplace education, and the potential introduction of designated establishments where cannabis could legally be consumed; for now Ontario’s proposed rules forbid cannabis consumption outside of private residences.
As other provinces work to establish regulatory frameworks, we believe Ontario’s approach is an excellent starting point. We all have much work ahead, and we are eager to roll up our sleeves and get involved.