On April 13, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau introduced legislation, widely expected to pass, that would make recreational marijuana legal nationwide in Canada.
Canada has had legal medical marijuana since 2001. But medical dispensaries are illegal, despite being tolerated in certain areas. Medical marijuana is usually shipped directly to patients by wholesalers.
The new legislation leaves many regulatory details up to provincial governments, but certain nationwide standards will apply. The minimum age to buy recreational marijuana will be 18, though provinces may increase age requirements. Adults may possess no more than 30 grams, and households may grow no more than 4 plants to a maximum height of 1 meter each. Growing, importing, exporting, or selling marijuana outside of these limits or outside of the regulated marketplace will remain serious crimes.
Each province will make rules governing the operation of Amsterdam-style coffeehouses and dispensaries, if it allows either. Provinces that do not allow dispensaries must allow home delivery directly from producers. Strict limitations on marketing and advertising are expected, similar to the plain packaging requirements that Canada imposes on cigarettes. Recreational cannabis is also expected to be taxed similar to cigarettes.
The first legal recreational marijuana sales are anticipated to begin in Canada by mid-2018.
Subject to rules that may be imposed by individual provinces, it appears there will be no restrictions for investment or ownership by publicly traded companies or foreign entities or individuals. With the entire Canadian marijuana industry estimated to be worth upwards of $22.6 billion (Recreational Marijuana – Insights and Opportunities), Canada may provide fertile ground for investors. Canadian companies have been investing and lending in the U.S. marijuana industry for some time now. Legalization in Canada will certainly provide opportunities for investment in Canada, but may also increase investment in the U.S. as well.