Written by Ranjeev S. Dhillon, Dominique T. Hussey, Aaron E. Sonshine, Rami Chalabi and Nicholas Nevins
On October 11, Bennett Jones LLP and Global Public Affairs, a leading public affairs firm, hosted a luncheon round table to discuss the House of Commons Health Committee hearings that were recently held with respect to legalizing cannabis for recreational purposes through Bill C-45 (the Cannabis Act). These hearings highlighted many pertinent issues relating to the future governance and control of the recreational cannabis market and Canada’s readiness for legalization.
The luncheon was attended by industry stakeholders, with the round table comprised of industry leaders who were able to share their wide breadth of knowledge, insight and expertise:
- Hon. Darrell Dexter, Vice Chair, Global Public Affairs, and Former NDP Premier of Nova Scotia;
- Genevieve Young, President and COO, Global Public Affairs;
- Rod Elliot, Vice President, Ontario, Global Public Affairs; and
- Ranjeev Dhillon, Partner and Co-Head, Cannabis, Bennett Jones LLP.
The round table discussion touched on a variety of issues, including:
- the legalization of recreational cannabis in Canada;
- how stakeholder influence is shaping the industry;
- the role of the provinces in the legalization process and how provincial governments are being challenged to develop a workable distribution and retail model while complying with Bill C-45 framework; and
- how legislation is being influenced at the committee stage.
The panelists provided an overview of the legislative process, and the next steps for Bill C-45, including a timeline of events that are expected take place prior to the July 1, 2018, deadline the federal government has set for the implementation of the Cannabis Act. The panelists drew on their in-depth public policy and government relations experience to provide attendees with valuable insight into what they believe will be the biggest challenges facing both the industry and the government on the road to legalization—including supply issues, health and safety, public education and employee training, pricing and the consumer experience.
The round table ended with a Q&A session that touched on a number of topics including the role of municipalities in the legalization process, the government's willingness to view the cannabis market as a potential job creator and how the laws surrounding importing cannabis could be used to solve the potential supply problem.
Attendees were able to walk away with a detailed understanding of the legislative process and the role stakeholders can play within it, the challenges that will need to be overcome prior to legalization and the need to adapt once legalization does come into effect.
At Bennett Jones LLP, we have a team of industry-leading professional advisors that can provide legal and strategic guidance to all industry participants as well as provide our clients with access to valuable information and insight through our network as the Canadian cannabis industry continues to evolve.