Canadian Cannabis Giants May Get Some Competition


Jodie Giesz-Ramsay, known to many as Jodie Emery, co-owner of Cannabis Culture magazine and its associated businesses based in Vancouver, BC, is mounting an effort to challenge some of the provisions in Canada’s new adult-legalization law, known as The Cannabis Act, which is scheduled to go into effect in July 2018. Specifically, Giesz-Ramsay alleges that tight restrictions on production and distribution in the new law will result in a monopoly over the nascent industry which essentially serves to choke off dispensaries, licensed producers, and mail-order distributors already serving patient and consumer needs in Canada. The Cannabis Act will currently allow Canadian territories and provinces to create their own regulatory structure to oversee production, distribution, and sales.

The group is seeking to intervene in an upcoming case being heard by the Supreme Court of Canada, in order to bring these grievances to the legal system. In its intervention, Cannabis Culture is representing 28 other corporations. The case involves a man who was arrested and charged for transporting too large a quantity of alcohol from one Canadian province to another, and is being watched closely by small and large producers of beer and wine, and multiple business and consumer organizations.

The two provinces embroiled in the case include Ontario, which has stated an intention to make the Liquor Control Board of Ontario the sole provider for adult-use cannabis in that province, and New Brunswick, which announced a new Crown corporation (quasi governmental agency) partnering with private companies Organigram and Canopy Growth for the same purpose.

The Court has yet to decide if it will accept the application for intervention, but there appears to be an openness to discussing its relevance.

From the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation:

“The court has expressed a willingness to revisit issues ‘should a sea change in the legal, political, or social landscape occur,’ Cannabis Culture points out.

“’The legalization of cannabis and the emergence of an entirely new industry are precisely the type of sea change which needs to be heard in this case because of the effects interprovincial trade barriers have on the extant and emergent cannabis industry,’ it says.

“Cannabis Culture is representing 28 other entities that collectively operate about 100 cannabis dispensaries, several of which also operate mail-order distribution models.”

The Canada Supreme Court is scheduled to hold hearings on the case December 5 and 6. The people of Canada support private cannabis retailers. If Canadian courts agree that cannabis should be treated similarly to alcohol, then consumers will have the option of both private and government-connected retailers to choose from.

The International Cannabis Business Conference (ICBC) keeps you on top of the latest in Canada’s cannabis scene. Join ICBC next June 24-25, 2018 in Vancouver, BC, as the new Canadian market begins its launch. If you want to know what’s happening sooner, join ICBC this December 1-3, 2017 in Kauai, Hawaii!

Photo credit: abdallahh/Flickr (CC BY 2.0) | Remix by Jason Reed