How Canada’s marijuana industry is going mainstream

July 10, 2016

Canada’s burgeoning medical marijuana industry – and the potential for a future recreational marijuana market – could be worth an estimated $5 billion, according to a report from CIBC World Markets.

The effect of an expanded market goes beyond adding tax dollars to government coffers and could impact traditional and established industries like finance, retail and tourism.  As pot-related policies and laws continue to be developed, the opportunities and challenges facing Canada’s economy are becoming clearer.

To explore the issues surrounding a growing national marijuana market, in May, LaBarge Weinstein LLP, along with Wildeboer Dellelce LLP and Dundee Capital Markets presented the Marijuana Regulation Conference: Policy and Business Considerations in Toronto. Member of Parliament Bill Blair, the government liaison for the task force that will be tasked with studying and making recommendations on the process for legalization of marijuana in Canada, delivered the keynote address. Other speakers included:

  • Lynn Pratt, Partner, Audit and Advisory, Deloitte LLP
  • Andrea Hill, Associate, Wildeboer Dellelce LLP
  • Licensed Producers Bruce Linton, CEO Canopy Growth Corporation, John Cervini, Co-Founder and Co-Chari, Aphria and Denis Arsenault, CEO, Organigram
  • Debbie Weinstein, Co-Founding Partner, LaBarge Weinstein LLP

Timing

Weinstein has been working closely with members of the Canadian marijuana industry, including Canopy Growth Corporation, for years. She says the spring of 2016 was the perfect time to organize an industry conference.

LaBarge Weinstein's Debbie Weinstein introduces Marijuana Regulation Conference: Policy and Business Considerations' keynote speaker MP Bill Blair, the government liaison for the task force that will be tasked with studying and making recommendations on the process for legalization of marijuana in Canada

LaBarge Weinstein’s Debbie Weinstein introduces Marijuana Regulation Conference: Policy and Business Considerations’ keynote speaker MP Bill Blair, the government liaison for the task force that will be tasked with studying and making recommendations on the process for legalization of marijuana in Canada

“There are a lot of miscommunications and misunderstandings of the status of the legal use of marijuana in Canada, in light of the licensed producer rules, the predecessor rules and court proceedings,” she says. “Many individuals believe that dispensaries in Vancouver, Toronto and elsewhere are ‘legal’, they are not.”

Weinstein stresses that – at the moment – only medicinal usage of marijuana is permitted in Canada, and that’s still a regulated process itself.

“Only Licensed Producers are legal and those holding valid medical marijuana prescriptions from a medical doctor can legally access medical marijuana from Licensed Producers,” she explains.

Weinstein says that while the medical marijuana market is flourishing, the potential legal recreational marijuana industry could be a boon for business, too.

“With the advent of legalizing the plant, including by-products such as oils to all consumers in 2017 and onwards, an entire industry is opening up for business to participate in and profit from.”

Marijuana mainstreaming

In reviewing the conference, cannabis news magazine Lift wrote “So what does a cannabis conference look like in 2016? Long gone are the days of dreads and bongs. This conference was filled with tailored suits and Mont Blanc accessories.” 

Weinstein says this is all part of the mainstreaming of the blossoming marijuana industry.

“I think the presence and openness of our keynote speaker Bill Blair, and the attendance of dozens of Bay Street brokers not only legitimizes the industry but demonstrates the industry coming into the mainstream. The focus has been widened to include not only consumers but the institutional finance community and their stake in this industry, as well. The recent announcement of Canopy graduating to the TSX from TSXV only reinforces the flight to mainstream.”

 

You might also be interested in:Lessons Canada can learn about marijuana regulation from Colorado and Washington

For more information on marijuana-related legal services or any other service LaBarge Weinstein can provide, please contact us at info@lwlaw.com, visit our website at www.lwlaw.com or follow us on twitter at @LWConnect.

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