On April 13th 2017, Canada introduced a bill to legalize and regulate recreative marijuana. As recently approved by the Canadian Senate, recreational marijuana will be legalized in Canada on October 17th 2018. It should be noted, however, that medicinal marijuana is already legal in Canada, and has been for over a decade.
On a federal level, the new law, labelled C-45, will allow adults to carry and share up to 30 grams of legal marijuana in public, as well as cultivate up to four plants in their households. The federal government (Canada) is responsible for production regulation and for decriminalizing use and possession. However, marijuana retail, distribution and wholesaling will be regulated by the provinces.
Even though recreational marijuana is not yet legal, it is already possible for businesses to enter the marijuana market. In fact, since medicinal marijuana is already legal, Health Canada has already defined the criteria to obtain a growing license. Since it often takes over a year for a business to prepare its case, obtain the required licenses and build the facilities, investments are running strong among Canadian businesses in order to be among the first to market.
In order to enter this newly legalized market, it is necessary to obtain a growing license from Health Canada, including many formalities and approvals from municipalities and other local stakeholders. Our firm has developed an expertise in obtaining such licenses and accompanies many businesses in the Province of Québec in modeling their business and managing a successful business plan.
Estimates for the base retail market in Canada range from 6 billion CAD to over 12 billion CAD and supply is expected to have a hard time following demand in the early stages of legalization. As such, marijuana legalization in Canada constitutes a wonderful opportunity for Canadians and for investors worldwide in order to tap into this previously unregulated and illegal market. Businesses are presently working on a wide range of new products, including smoking, vaporization, oral delivery methods such as oils and infused food/drinks, topical delivery methods, etc.
What this means for people outside Canada:
- It is very easy to invest in an existing or a future marijuana business;
- Businesses that transform marijuana and create derivates are looking for marijuana imports to satisfy demand.
For more information on the legalization of marijuana in Canada and concerning the opportunities arising thereof, feel free to contact Saraïlis Avocats in Quebec City, Canada.

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