The tough spade work, the foundation-laying, the time-consuming commitment to framing something stout and invigorating — all of that marked the singular collaboration between communities, regulators and lawmakers, and cannabis industry stakeholders during 2017. The challenging toil continues through 2018, but it also comes with hope for Canada’s first harvest of legal recreational marijuana. This is Canada’s year to show the world how to build a vibrant new industry.
The loose coalition has now devoted close to a year to crafting a sensible and sturdy regulatory framework for cultivating, manufacturing, distributing and selling cannabis across Canada. Truly, the hard work began during 2016, when it became clear that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau supported legalization and would commit political capital towards making it happen.
This extraordinary partnership has proven strikingly rewarding. Regulators are receiving input from all points of view, including those of community advocates, academics, scientists and stakeholders, and the painstaking, stone-by-stone construction of a lasting edifice is well on its way.
Engaging in this nationwide construction effort has involved much more than conversations between interested parties and national politicians. In fact, most of the enterprise is taking place in the provinces. Think of the provinces as rooms in the grand structure. On the outside, the structure is uniform and of-a-piece, but inside the rooms come in different shapes and sizes, with varied decorative touches.
Work in the provinces has been steady, disciplined and effective. Just now, we are witnessing detailed blueprints for regulatory designs in provinces, providing stakeholders — community members, consumers, patients, regulators and lawmakers, industry leaders — with clear construction plans. From British Columbia to Ottawa to Nova Scotia, we all are ready to complete the labor and begin to harvest some of the fruits. Thanks to the diligence, thoughtfulness, creativity and enterprise of such a wide range of Canadians, we are on track for nationwide ribbon-cuttings on July 1 — Canada Day.
The grand opening will pay homage to the thousands of industrious Canadians who have dedicated their lives to crafting this glorious structure. Once the doors swing open, consumers will finally gain access to a newfound, and long overdue, right. The commencement of widespread commercial activity, too, will send valuable tax revenues to provinces and the national government, monies that could be used to further Canada’s goals for building model programs in education, environmental protection, consumer safety, health care and much more.
As a nation we have locked arms and marched towards this goal, most of us offering helpful points of view and pitching in to ensure that once July 1 arrives, we will be ready whether we are industry stakeholders, regulators or community advocates.
Now is the time to finish the job — to show the world how a collaboration between a national government, municipalities, communities and industry can build something noble and dignified, a structure that will draw people from around the world seeking education and enlightenment.