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Cannabis legalization

Cannabis roundup: This week’s legalization opinion and analysis

Friday, October 19, 2018 @ 10:32 AM | By Richard Skinulis


Richard Skinulis %>
Richard Skinulis
Here is a roundup of all the analysis and opinion pieces we published this week covering the many aspects of cannabis legalization in Canada that came into effect on Oct. 17, 2018.

Business

Budding this fall: The serious business of recreational cannabis
In their article mapping out the regulatory hurdles of legal cannabis, Sara Zborovski and Nader Hasan write: “The blistering pace at which this industry has been growing will not slow down after Oct. 17. The industry is set to transform itself and cannabis companies are already a step ahead, thinking about products like beverages, with some of them pursuing collaborations with multinational blue chip companies. Lawyers who advise these companies will need to be equally ahead of the curve and have a nuanced understanding of the regulations to be able to provide their advice in real time. It won’t be enough to simply know how to run deals or manage patents to be an effective adviser to cannabis companies. Lawyers who practise in this space will be required to have well-developed regulatory expertise to give meaningful advice as the market goes through this stage of rapid transformation.”

Ontario re-lays foundation for brick and mortar sales of recreational cannabis
In his column diving deep into Ontario's private model for the sale of recreational cannabis, Marco Maduri writes: “The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) will oversee the licensing of retail sales locations. Similar to applications under the federal Cannabis Act applicants should expect a thorough review of their personnel (including directors, officers and shareholders). The AGCO’s website states that it will ‘move quickly to define the licensing process’ in an attempt to support the goal of having private stores open for business by next April 1. No further details have been provided and the AGCO is not accepting applications at this time.”

Criminal

Cannabis legalization FAQs
The rules respecting distribution, consumption and workplace consequences of legal cannabis will not be uniform across the country, Criminal defence lawyer Jacob Stilman writes: “The Cannabis Act is designed to operate in conjunction with provincial legislation, so rules respecting distribution, consumption, workplace consequences and so forth will not be uniform across the country. This article attempts to provide answers to some of those likely questions and concerns which clients may ask.”

More cannabis legalization FAQs
In his follow-up article answering common criminal law questions regarding cannabis, criminal lawyer Jacob Stilman covers topics that are bound to arise outside of the immediate scope of the Cannabis Act by answering some of the legal questions regarding cannabis consumption, including: “Why can’t I produce my own product for sale?” And “How are the cops going to know that I’m driving high?”

Cannabis legalization: A feel-good moment in Canada
Robert Harvie traces the often tortuous history of cannabis laws in this country, writing: “Whether you use or plan to use marijuana after Oct.17 or not — we, as Canadians, should celebrate the partial dismantling of an effort which has been horribly racist in effect, if not actually in design.”

Family

It’s time to put the we in weed: Family law and legalized cannabis
Family law arbitrator John-Paul E. Boyd writes in his column: “The use and abuse of substances arises most frequently in family law matters as a point of attack on a party’s parenting capacity and an express route to the moral high ground.”

Intellectual Property

Cannabis: From mystery to medical intellectual property
In his article looking at the medical silver lining of legal cannabis, IP lawyer Noel Courage writes: “If a company spends millions of dollars on R&D, they need to have strong IP to recoup that investment. IP allows reinvestment in future research, so that more patients benefit from proper, evidence-based medical trials. Although cannabis is a pretty familiar plant in our culture, it has a very high tech medical future ahead of it.”

Labour & Employment

Cannabis: What employers need to know
Legalization has put the emphasis on company policies more than ever says Laura Williams, who writes: “Without this necessary infrastructure in place, law firms and their clients expose themselves to the risk of costly litigation, human rights challenges and damage to their brand reputation — all of which are completely avoidable.”

Personal Injury

Cannabis legalization: Avoiding the personal injury potholes
Jasmine Daya writes that her greatest concern for legalized cannabis is with respect to social and commercial host liability. “Private parties may have included cannabis prior to legalization but now that it doesn’t need to be consumed in private, people may leave the party and get behind the wheel causing injury to another person or to oneself. Either way, not only is the one who consumed cannabis at fault — the liability will extend to the party’s host if they served alcohol and/or cannabis.”

Real Estate

The Cannabis Act: A gift to lawyers that will keep on giving
Real estate lawyer Joe Hoffer writes: “For lawyers, the Cannabis Act has meant a substantial increase in demand for legal advice, particularly in the areas of real estate and human rights law. The challenge for lawyers is to assist clients to successfully navigate through the regulatory gaps and avoid the destructive consequences of litigation at the court or tribunal levels.”

Tax

Up in smoke: A primer on cannabis taxation in Canada
In their comprehensive article, tax lawyers Beverly Gilbert and Bhuvana Sankaranarayanan write: “Although the exact intricacies of some aspects of the taxation of cannabis remain ambiguous as of Oct. 17, what is crystal clear is that commercial cannabis products are intended to — and likely will — raise substantial federal and provincial government revenue. Whether the taxes imposed on regulated and legalized cannabis will allow it to remain competitive with the underground market remains to be seen.”

Richard Skinulis is an Analysis editor at The Lawyer's Daily