Despite the holiday season, cannabis news and legislation have not taken a break. We've been following two stories over the past week and both of them has impacted a different realm of the cannabis world. We're here to provide you a short synopsis for each of them, with recommendations for further reading for those of you who are interested.
Federal Dispensaries in Onatario
Two weeks ago we wrote an article about the rapid legalisation efforts in Canada. Since then the province of Ontario voted and enacted the Cannabis Act, which will give the province a monopoly on recreational cannabis when it is federally legalized. Cannabis sales will be managed by the Ontario Cannabis Retail Corporation (OCRC), which is a subsidiary of the Liquor Control Board of Ontario.
As we mentioned in our previous article, there are still questions about how these government run dispensaries will interact with the current illegal cannabis economy. Illegal operations will still have a considerable leg up when it comes to industry knowledge and grow operations. Some critics think that this version of legalization will let the illegal marijuana market flourish instead of fail.
Further criticism stems from the number of storefronts that Ontario has proposed to open. The current projection is 40 marijuana dispensaries by July 1st, with a plan to open 150 by 2020.
“Forty store fronts basically tells the criminal element it’s wide open season for marijuana here in Ontario and I don’t think that’s very responsible,” said NDP Leader Andrea Horwath.
Despite these objections, Canada is gearing up for a massive industry boom and it will be fascinating to watch as the economic and cultural impact over the next few years.
Read more here
Massachusetts' Cannabis Cafes
Every since legalisation, there have been questions about public consumption of cannabis. When will we there be businesses that don't just sell cannabis, but also offer a place to experience cannabis? Massachusetts may have an answer. On Monday the agency responsible for regulating recreational marijuana met and approved new a new policy that will allow cannabis cafes to open. These cafes will emulate a bar experience for those who would prefer cannabis.
The committee's next steps involve drafting further policies to effectively flesh out the proposed legislation. The committee has already decreed that marijuana should not be sold along with alcohol and the marijuana tenders will need to have similar training as bartenders. Most importantly, the should be able to recognize when a customer is too intoxicated and should not be served more marijuana.
Since Massachusetts could very well be the first state to enact these policies, the state could serve as a template that other states will look to.
"There will be a variety of access points for adult consumers beyond the traditional package store model, so it's transformative across the board," said Latulippe. "I think we'll be the first state in the country to offer this, so essentially we will have in place a regulated, safe and controlled system by which to consume cannabis on site and legal businesses."
Read more here