Canada, America's 51st state, may be about to launch into the thrill ride that Oregonians bought an e-ticket for three years ago: recreational cannabis legalization, via the C-45 bill, the Cannabis Act. The bill is up for a crucial vote later this week (on Thursday, June 7), and if it passes as expected, our neighbors to the north won't just be doing this province to province. No, these Tragically Hip(sters) are opting to make cannabis legal through the entire country, all at once.
Suddenly, nearly one hundred people could have access!
Just kidding, Canada. In truth, the adults in the Great White North's population of more than 35 million could potentially be able to buy cannabis soon, although Canada already has a medical cannabis program with an enrollment of more than 200,000. Recreational sales are forecasted to bring in upwards of $5 billion annually (primarily from Tim Hortons donut-flavored gummies and OG Moose Kush, presumably).
The rollout has had its hiccups, though: There's been a bunch of back and forth among the legislature over the wording, and an expected July launch has been bumped to August or September, giving producers more time to get their product to the stores.
The Motley Fool has a great piece on how the Canadian government is seeking to address some of the same issues we here in the colonies are grappling with, such as how to quell the unregulated marketplace. The piece says that the proposed taxation system
"calls for a $0.77-per-gram (1 Canadian dollar) tax on cannabis up to $7.70 (CA$10), and then a flat 10 percent tax on more expensive strains. By comparison, some folks in California could be paying up to 45 percent in sales tax to purchase recreational marijuana. Additionally, excise tax rates on beer, wine, and liquor in Canada tend to hover around 50 percent, 65 to 70 percent, and 80 percent, respectively. That's how relatively low Canada's tax on cannabis is compared to US legal states and to its own domestic alcohol industry."First off, that 45 percent tax in California is beyond the pale. Much like me after three dabs, it's far too high. Rates like these do nothing but fuel the desire for untested, unregulated products, because it's already hella expensive to live in California as it stands. Those taxes are one of the reasons that the revenue from California's recreational sales is falling far below projections.
So, as with many things, Canada is showing that even though they may have a later start, they're already further ahead on the road to legalization in addressing the numerous pot-holes. (Sorry. I'll show myself out.)