It’s official; Canada’s 95-year prohibition on recreational cannabis has been lifted.
The Senate voted to pass the landmark legislation by a vote of 56 to 30. Now, the bill moves back to the House of Commons where MP’s will debate four dozen amendments that were made to bill C-45 by the Senate.
As you can imagine, that might take awhile, so it could be weeks or even months before recreational marijuana is actually legal, and after that, another few months before it’s actually ready for retail sale.
In The Meantime…
Canadians are reacting pretty favorably when it comes to legalizing pot; CTV News reports a recent survey found most people plan on buying cannabis more often, and from legal retailers at that. If the results hold true, the recreational marijuana industry could generate more than $4 billion in total sales by next year.
The survey of 1,500 Canadians was conducted by Asking Canadians and was commissioned by Deloitte.
Deloitte’s take on the findings? That “legalization will open the doors to a dynamic and sophisticated industry that will create new jobs, new opportunities for businesses and new revenue for government.”
Everyone wants a piece of the pot pie, so to speak.
But there’s one tiny hiccup; how will the recreational marijuana industry tap into the world of non-smokers? Smoking rates have been on the decline for years in Canada now that many people are acutely aware of the health risks associated with smoking, whether it be tobacco or weed.
I guess you could say it’s out of style, and that legal pot won’t be as popular as it would have been a few decades ago! In fact, Statistics Canada reveals only 17% of Canadians actually smoke these days, whereas 77% drink.
Are you thinking what I’m thinking?
Unfortunately, you and I weren’t the first to think about cannabis-infused cocktails. A few Canadian businesses are way ahead of the game when it comes to appealing to people who don’t want to smoke a joint.
Beyond edible products already available, it looks like the industry is going the route of beer, cocktails, coffee, and tea that contain cannabis. Special vape devices are also being designed for more discreet marijuana-users.
Cannabis giant Canopy Growth is busy creating a buzz-worthy cocktail, and Province Brands is working on a cannabis beer. Unlike the cannabinoid brew created by Colorado’s Dads and Dudes Breweria, these beverages will actually contain THC, meaning consumers will be able to get high drinking the products.
According to a CBC News report, a recent study found Canadian millennials are looking for a low-calorie buzz, and that’s exactly what they’ll be getting with some of these products.
Canopy Growth points out that cannabis is calorie-free, and is, therefore, less likely to cause weight gain than alcohol is. In fact, Deloitte says producers have been able to remove the chemical from marijuana that gives people “the munchies”, further reducing the potential for weight gain.
For those who don’t want to openly drink or smoke marijuana, some entrepreneurs are working on vape devices that fit into the palm of your hand. They told CBC the devices are perfect for the most discreet marijuana users because there’s no smell or smoke associated with vaping cannabis oil.
But Don’t Hold Your Breath…
It might be awhile yet before we see these products hit the market. As I mentioned earlier, the bill and its amendments are being revised in Canada’s House of Commons before being sent back to the Senate for another vote. Experts say it could be late summer before recreational cannabis finally gets the green light, and after that, the drug will be legalized in stages.
Regular weed and cannabis oil will be approved first, with other potential specialty products getting the OK after that. So, the dream of a low-calorie, buzz-inducing cannabis cocktail will have to wait until 2019 at the earliest.
Regardless, it looks like Canadians interested in recreational marijuana will one day be able to choose between smoking it, vaping it, or drinking it. With new legislation comes a whole new world of possibilities.