There will be enough legal marijuana to meet demand

Government officials say they’re pretty confident they’ll have enough legal marijuana to meet the demand when legalization kicks in this fall.

As the official legalization date — Oct. 17 — approaches, some have questioned whether there will be enough product for the new legal recreational market.

Government officials updated reporters on what the regulations for producers will look during a phone call Wednesday morning.

Federal licences will be required to cultivate and process recreational cannabis, but they won’t be processed until after legalization comes into effect.

Provincial governments are responsible for determining how and where recreational cannabis is sold. In some provinces — including Ontario, Quebec and most of Atlantic Canada — the stores will be run by the provincial governments. Elsewhere, the private sector will take the lead.

When asked about supply, officials speaking on background said they’re pretty confident there will be enough cannabis for opening day.

Having a criminal background won’t necessarily prevent Canadians from getting into the marijuana industry, said officials.

According to the regulations, licence applications will be assessed on merit and a record of previous drug-related offences, including trafficking, won’t automatically disqualify an applicant.

In March, Health Canada unveiled its proposals for the packaging and regulation of recreational cannabis.

The regulations released Wednesday confirm that cannabis products will have to be sold in plain packaging, with strict guidelines on logos, colours and branding, and must include health warnings.

The packaging also would have to indicate how much of the primary active compounds in cannabis — tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) — are in a particular product.

The rules outline how the federal government would regulate small cultivators and processors.

A micro-cultivator — someone growing pot on a small, boutique-like scale — will be restricted to a “plant canopy area” of no more than 200 square meters.

The regulations also impose rules on security and state where growers can set up shop. For example, a producer can’t grow and harvest plants outside if the operation is adjacent to a school, a public playground, a daycare facility or any other public place frequented mainly by people under 18 years of age.
Photo credit: Chris Wattie/Reuters

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