• Niche Canada

Historic Senate Vote Takes Place as Industry Gathers in Toronto

All eyes were on the Senate Thursday night, and the industry was glued to their phones, as they gathered for the second annual O’Cannabiz conference in Toronto.

After six months of debate and discourse, and the passing of some 40 amendments, the Senate voted to approve the Cannabis Act. It was history in the making, as this was the last major legislative hurdle to the legalization of recreational cannabis.

While many of the Senate amendments are not material, at least 12 make consequential amendments to the legal framework. Arguably, the most significant involves home growing.

The Senate's social affairs committee passed an amendment that would leave rules on home cultivation up to the provinces and territories, and even allow them to ban the practice.

But, the Prime Minister has been clear on his position: "The decision on home cultivation of up to four plants was based on logic and evidence and it's one that we will continue to establish as part of the federal framework."

The bill now goes back to the House of Commons, where members of Parliament will accept, modify or reject the amendments. If accepted, the final step—royal assent—could still be days or weeks away. If rejected, the bill will go back to the Senate, which could delay the passing of legislation for a number of weeks.

So, there are still a number of steps to go before Canada ends its 95-year prohibition of cannabis. When the bill is finalized and becomes law, it would still take eight to 12 weeks for provinces and territories to prepare for retail sales.

Following the nail biting vote on Thursday, delegates at the O’Cannabiz conference got back to the business of the weekend – exploring the latest regulations, industry standards and best practices of the cannabis sector.

Industry professionals, patients, physicians, licensed producers, and consumers gathered to learn, network and advocate, while exploring the latest issues and opportunities.

Various seminars and panel discussions took place, exploring important aspects about health, business, lifestyle and the law. The expo portion of the event featured over 200 cannabis business exhibitors who featured their products and services.

Our CEO, Barinder Rasode, participated in the ‘Roll’ Models: Women Leaders in Cannabis' Breakfast. Six women shared their unique and inspiring stories about their journey to cannabis and how female entrepreneurs can thrive in this burgeoning industry.

Canada is on its way to become the first advanced industrialized nation to legalize and regulate cannabis from production to consumption. It’s an exciting time for the industry and there is a lot at stake. But, one of the major themes to emerge from this weekend’s conference is that, while getting the regulation right from the get-go is important, legalization is a process that will evolve and improve over time. And, if we keep our priorities in-check, we will show the world how to do it right.