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Pot panel: What's the impact of legal marijuana in Waterloo region?

Recreational marijuana becomes legal on Oct. 17. What does the upcoming legal change mean for people who work, or who want to work, with pot? The Morning Edition convened a panel from business, education and the pot growing industry to get answers.
October 17 has been set as the date Canadians will be able to legally purchase recreational marijuana. To discuss what that could mean for Waterloo region, Rhapsody Barrel Bar owner Tammy Lawrence, dean of the Ontario Agriculture College at University of Guelph Rene Van Acker and Nathan Woodworth, CEO and president of James E Wagner Cultivation in Kitchener. (Kate Bueckert/CBC)

Recreational marijuana becomes  legal to buy in Canada on October 17. Much will change across the country and here in the Waterloo Region. But what is next for people who work — or who want to work — with marijuana?

The Morning Edition host Craig Norris asked a panel from business, education and the commercial pot growing industry to look at the issues.

Business

Tammy Lawrence is the owner of Rhapsody Barrel Bar in downtown Kitchener. When it comes to cannabis, she means business. She wants to bring marijuana into her establishment in the form of edibles and infused beverages. But when it comes to private marijuana sellers, she said that the legislation around them needs to grow a little more.

"I don't see anything that's moving towards that in a three-month future," said Lawrence. "I think we're still probably at least a year away for facilities like mine to be able to do this legally."

Hear the panel discussion:

On Oct. 17, it will become legal to purchase recreational marijuana in Canada. What does that mean for Waterloo region? We invited three people to take part in a panel on pot: Nathan Woodworth, CEO and president of James E Wagner Cultivation in Kitchener, Rene Van Acker, a plant science professor and dean of the Ontario Agriculture College at the University of Guelph and Tammy Lawrence, owner of Rhapsody Barrel Bar in downtown Kitchener. 12:41

Education

Rene Van Acker, dean of the Ontario Agricultural College at the University of Guelph said that they have a long tradition of working in advanced horticulture — and cannabis is just more of that. For him, marijuana means research and cultivating highly qualified people to work in the industry.

Acker said that marijuana expands agriculture, which is a good thing, and "for us, we like it because it draws attention to the fact that there is something to do in agriculture that may be a little bit less traditional and maybe it draws in new people to have an interest in agriculture."

Entrepreneurs

Nathan Woodworth is the CEO of James E. Wagner Cultivation in Kitchener. He said that his company has been prepared for October 17 for a long time and that the pressure is now on the politicians.

"It's up to the provinces to establish the framework to get things going so that on Oct. 17 we are ready to start distributing product," he said.

Listen to the entire discussion on how the legalization of pot will impact business, education and entrepreneurs in Waterloo region.