Cannabis Legislation coming tomorrow:
Radio Canada reported yesterday the Quebec provincial government is planning to table its legal cannabis legislation tomorrow. The highlights of the report are as follows:
- Target date for implementation is July 1, 2018
- 20 shops to open initially
- Stores to be run through the SAQ, the province’s liquor agency.
- Customers will be able to order online and Canada Post will deliver.
- The legislation is designed to be ‘flexible’ and can evolve over time.
This is a big deal. There’s going to be a shock in the private dispensary space in Quebec, with retailers hoping for a mixed model getting screwed. Quebec does not mess around with its hard liquor monopoly, and I would expect the same level of enforcement from it’s pot police.
The sunny side (and it’s a big one) is the online sales piece. The fact the provincial distributor is willing to sell through Canada Post to anyone is huge. Anyone in Quebec can order product to their doorstep.
Great news for producers with a Quebec position, because they may have lost some retail distribution channels, but their wholesale market just got way bigger. The question is whether or not they can make up on volume what they will likely lose through monopoly pricing.
I’ll follow up with more details if the legislation gets tabled tomorrow in the National Assembly.
Cannabis Consultation highlights:
Another Radio Canada Piece reports a majority of Quebecers are in favour of 18 being the legal age for cannabis.
According to the consultation held by the Quebec government, 67 per cent of Quebecers pegged the appropriate age to purchase and consume cannabis at 18. The piece talks about the various groups who petitioned the government about their fears of increased use, demonic possession, dungeons and dragons, etc.
According to Radio Canada, the final report pushes back and acknowledges the reality of the shifting attitudes towards cannabis in Quebec. The shift in philosophy by government is quoted in the piece (Translation mine)
“The focus should be on moderation rather than prohibition, it shouldn’t normalize or demonize the substance or its consumption.”
-From the Public Consultation Report
Other breakdowns from the report:
22 % want a state monopoly (congrats, see above)
20.5% wanted a private system
34 % wanted a mixed model.
There’s a strong split between the public and other stakeholders on private growing for personal use. The public and online submissions were strongly in favour, and all other stakeholders (e.g. growers and distributors) were much less positive (duh-doy).
Finally, the report also notes difficulty in enforcing and detecting DUI with cannaboids and other issues like minor enforcement etc.
As I noted above, I’ll be following up when we see what the final legislation looks like, but I’d be looking at buying producers, and selling retailers in the cannabis area right now.