The list of negative consequences from cannabis being illegal at the federal level seems to keep growing longer and longer. The government is now stating that if Canadians legally work in their medical marijuana industry they can be denied entry into the United States and could even receive a lifetime ban. The Customs and Border Patrol Agency has made it clear that they do not recognize these marijuana businesses as legal entities whether they are operating legally in their home country or not. Law enforcement has far too much power if it has the authority to ban someone from a country forever for doing nothing wrong. Preventing a substance that you consider illegal is one thing, but preventing family members and visitors from ever seeing the great United States again is a crime. Especially when the federal government is allowing its own states to pass laws that directly contradict their own criminal code.
Canadians have to be aware of this so they can take preventative steps and avoid being denied entry. This applies to anybody that has ever used illegal drugs in the past, not just workers in the marijuana industry. It will likely apply to an even larger number of people once recreational marijuana legalization takes effect on October 17th. It is unclear exactly how Homeland Security will evaluate whether someone is associated with the cannabis industry. The best bet for those visiting the country would be to never admit to any past marijuana use or involvement in the legal marijuana industry. It is unlikely that the officer will be asking those type of questions without a solid reason to believe you are involved with cannabis, but it is definitely a possibility. Open admission is a guaranteed way to get yourself denied entry. You will be treated as a potential harm to society without a second thought.
These types of questions will probably become more popular among border patrol agents come October so they can exercise their power with more results. Luckily a democratic representative from California, Lou Correa, is questioning this policy as well as asking for clarification on how it will be enforced. The letter addressed to the Secretary of Homeland Security asked for a response by the beginning of October. It seems the letter will have little effect on the enforcement of banning Canadians but the response should help clarify what to expect when crossing the border. Hopefully it will be crystal clear for travelers what questions to expect and what type of answers could land them in trouble. There will likely be a large number of people who suffer because they weren’t aware that their legal activities can still have serious consequences.
This week another beverage giant, Coca-Cola, has shown interest in possibly partnering with Aurora Cannabis in order to develop various weed-infused beverages. While nothing has been verified by either company, they have both made statements confirming that they are thinking about pursuing this business opportunity. Even though no solid agreements were made, this didn’t stop Aurora’s stock prices from soaring today. It saw an increase of 12% when the news of this partnership first broke. Both companies have hinted that they will be producing beverages that are more focused on approving health then getting stoned. CBD seems to be the main focus of Coca-Cola, at least for the time being. They mentioned that the non-psychoactive compound is already being used in beverages across the world for health benefits and that they are monitoring this closely. It is likely that they are focusing on this instead of THC infused drinks because recreational marijuana is not yet legal in Canada or the U.S. There will also be a period of time after it is legalized next month where stores will not yet be operating. So it makes sense to first focus heavily on the already existing medical marijuana industry.
If this partnership were to happen, it would be the first time a major non-alcoholic drink producer entered into the cannabis market. This is shortly after the major $4 billion investment Constellation Brands made in Canopy Growth, Canada’s largest medical marijuana producer. A lot of investments and partnerships are being considered as we come closer and closer to recreational marijuana in Canada. Alcohol producer Molson-Coors had already announced earlier this year that they plan to produce cannabis-infused drinks with Hydropothecary. I would be willing to bet there will be more partnerships made by companies that have no existing relationship with cannabis. As long as a corporation has the existing infrastructure to easily produce a cannabis-related product or service, the possibility exists. Coke would have to invest little to nothing into their existing bottling and distribution centers. They would just need to source CBD or other cannabinoids and simply add it into the existing production process.
Cannabis infused drinks, if priced competitively, are extremely popular among cannabis consumers and patients. It is a great way to consume cannabis without the harms of smoking or eating unhealthy infused sweets. Most popular edibles that are produced have lots of fat and sugar. The target market for these new types of drinks would be the more health-conscious consumer. That is as long as Coca-Cola doesn’t decide to produce marijuana-infused drinks that are as bad for you as drinking coke. I think it would be a much smarter move to create a drink with much less sugar and caffeine. After all, they are planning on producing a beverage aimed at improving health. If they are successful at accomplishing this, they may even be able to reduce the negative stigma associated with their popular brand name.
Both companies have made it clear that there is absolutely zero guarantee that this merger will happen despite the great opportunity. Having an enormous corporation like Coca-Cola on Aurora’s team would put it in a better position to compete with Canopy Growth. They also probably will be developing marijuana-infused beverages with the knowledge and expertise Constellation Brands brings to the table. Both Coca-Cola and Aurora saw a rise in their stock value without any solid plans being announced. Imagine what type of increase they would see if a merger is confirmed, or if Aurora was able to expand to the United States. There is great opportunity ahead for Canada’s biggest medical marijuana producers.
There seems to be one common similarity among the different states and countries that have moved to legalize marijuana. Each law mentions the issue of public consumption and explains that it is still illegal. Even though the punishment for consuming in public is minor in most jurisdictions, the only legal place the law allows consumption without penalty is your own private property. If you look at any other recreational substance that is popular in our society, it’s clear that it is not a reasonable expectation for people to never consume marijuana outside of their own private property. The local city council in Calgary is concerned with this issue and wants to address it before legalization even takes effect in Canada.
One of the issues that are brought up by opponents of public consumption areas is that there will be a rise in impaired driving rates in cities that allow these type of businesses to run. The truth is that if lawmakers were truly that concerned about the dangers of impaired driving, alcohol wouldn’t be served at nearly every restaurant and corner store. Alcohol has been proven through numerous studies to have a much larger impact on motor skills and leads to more aggressive driving behaviors then marijuana. Not to mention drunk driving is responsible for more than 10,000 deaths a year Anybody that has used both will tell you the same thing. However, the availability of more dangerous substances for public consumption by itself doesn’t justify allowing these places to operate. The fact that there are enormous amounts of people who visit/live in Calgary without owning any property means legally they can’t use marijuana at all. Why make it legal in the first place if only property owners have the right to consume? This essentially keeps prohibition in place for the rest of the local population. People will of course not abide by these rules and smoke in public places regardless, so it’s only sensible they establish designated areas to help regulate where it is used.
Canada’s legalization measure not only banned public consumption of marijuana but it also prohibited its use in apartment buildings, condominiums, and hotels. It seems counterintuitive that the country wanted to eliminate smoking in these locations but did not offer any alternative in order to make this law reasonable. This is why the city council is taking matters into its own hands. It is proposing that there be four separate locations that were selected in relation to their distance from schools and areas frequented by children. All of these locations would be located in Ward 9 and within a relative proximity of one another. Even though the public is most likely going to be in agreement and support the availability of cannabis clubs, the government wants to reach out and receive feedback before the 9th of September. The committee will be holding a meeting on the 9th of October where the public can also make comments in person about the important issue. Calgary should have a clear decision made by the time the new law goes into effect so consumers won’t have to worry about being prosecuted for consuming a legal product.
Smoking, possessing, and growing cannabis will no longer be a criminal offense across the nation of Canada thanks to the approval of a legalization bill by the Senate this past Tuesday. The bill passed with a vote of 52-29. As of today, the bill has been given royal assent, the final step in the Canadian legislative process. While it is officially passed, the law does not take effect until October 17th so don’t become careless and be aware you can still be charged with a crime. The regulation of cannabis will be done in a much different way then it has been done in individual U.S. states. One of these differences is the minimum age required to legally consume and purchase the plant. The federal government has set the age at 18, but provinces can set some of their own unique rules and many are expected to add another year to that federal requirement. Canadian officials argue that setting the age too high will encourage many young adults who will use cannabis regardless to seek out their weed from the black market. Youth consumption rates in Canda are among the highest in the world, and they believe that setting a similar age to the states will only encourage criminal organizations.
When it comes to possession limits the maximum amount a person can possess is 30 grams. While an oz is a decent amount for personal use, setting magical limits is kind of a ridiculous practice. You aren’t allowed to only have 30 cans of beer per person. Every state so far has also set their own unique limits in the U.S. The cool thing about the legislation in Canada is there is no possession limit within a private dwelling. This is a key addition to the law because growing the 4 allowed plants will provide much more than 30 grams of usable cannabis and that’s not taking into consideration leftovers from the last harvest.
Another aspect of the law that makes it unique is the idea of mail order weed. This is already a practice in the medical marijuana industry for registered patients. Soon it will become available for recreational users as well. To protect against youth accessing marijuana, it will not be delivered unless someone is home and able to show I.D. for the package. There aren’t any specific details regarding how much can be ordered at a time but it can be assumed that it’s the possession limit of 30 grams. It will be interesting to see how popular this method of purchase will become in comparison to the retail shops that will also be dispensing marijuana. The convenience of a quick delivery could cause the same problems Amazon has caused for retail shopping giants.
Altogether the Parliment did a good job drafting a well thought out piece of legislation. They thought about many different factors when drafting the rules with the main one being protecting the youth. Limiting advertising and lowering the legal age of consumption are just two of the steps they have taken to eliminate the damage from years of prohibition. The only thing that wasn’t mentioned in the bill that I would have liked to see included would be the expungement of records for those previously convicted of cannabis possession or cultivation crimes. This will likely be something that happens in the future after the law takes effect but it is a crucial step nonetheless.