This could be the year that Canadians will be able to buy and consume cannabis products — legally.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised to legalize pot during his election campaign and he has already put together a task force to study how to do so.
This week on CBC Montreal's Daybreak and at CBC.ca, we'll be delving into stories about how cannabis legalization will change Canada.
In a series Daybreak is calling Montreal 420, here are the issues we'll be covering:
Where marijuana will be sold
Once pot becomes legal, a big question is where it will be sold. Liquor stores, which already have widespread locations and distribution infrastructure? Private dispensaries, which already sell medical marijuana and have specialized knowledge of the product? Corner stores? Home delivery?
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There are strong pros and cons to each of these models, and each one would require its own regulation framework.
What Canada can learn from U.S. states that legalized it
Colorado was the first state to legalize pot in 2012, and commercial sales began in 2014. Since then, the state has learned much about having a legal market. It saw a big boost in tax revenues and it had to adjust its DUI laws to account for driving while high.
But if Canada legalizes weed, it would be on a federal level, and in a vastly different context. There would be no inter-provincial issues. Banks would not refuse to serve dealers, since it wouldn't go against federal laws.
The economic impact
What would be the benefits to cannabis producers? Who would grow it? What would the market look like in five years?
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These are questions that are hard to answer now. But some entrepreneurs are already thinking ahead, like Dany Lefèbvre, the founder of Vert Médical, a hemp production company in Drummondville, and Paul Rosen, the CEO and president of PharmaCan Capital, an investment company that works with medicinal marijuana producers.
Also, what would be the impact on the black market? Will illicit dealers wither or simply adapt?
The effects on public health and addiction
Patricia Conrod, a psychiatry professor at the Université de Montréal, is concerned that young people are being overlooked in the conversation around legal pot. If it's legalized, there will be a minimum age, much like alcohol and tobacco.
But teens will still seek it out and consume it. Will the policies be harsh against them? Will there be other policies centred on harm reduction?
Although marijuana is not highly addictive, there are nonetheless health risks associated with its use. How should public health adapt to prevent and treat health problems and addictions?
Follow the conversation every day this week on Daybreak. Tune in to CBC Montreal on the radio or listen live here.