One month countdown to legalizing leisure hashish

The building frenzy is on as cannabis producers ramp up their production for what will be a game-changer in this country.

October 17th marks the date that recreational marijuana will become legal in Canada. There are many unknowns yet as we approach that launch date, whether the supply will meet the demand, what the private retail market will look like and how police will enforce laws around pot.

But what we know is that this is changing the landscape of Canada in many ways.

What was once a chocolate factory in the town of Smiths Falls, is now called Tweed, a division of Canopy Growth, one of the biggest cannabis growers in Canada.

A former plant farm in West Quebec has been transformed into row upon row of pot. 

Terry Lake is the Vice-President of Corporate, Social Responsibility and Communications with HEXO Corp near Masson-Angers in West Quebec, “We‘ve gone from 7000 square feet to 1.3 million square feet in between two and three years, which is quite remarkable,” he says.

Lake‘s transformation almost rivals that of the flower farm.  A former cabinet minister with the B.C. government, Lake has jumped on board this ever-expanding industry, teaming up with HEXO Corp out of West Quebec to get ready for the roll-out of legalized pot. 

“Our production is ongoing,” says Lake, “our greenhouse is full and we are all eagerly anticipating October 17.”

This kind of expansion is happening in cannabis facilities all across this country.  The 1.3 million square foot facility at HEXO Corp has become an economic driver in the tiny community of Masson-Angers.  Two hundred and fifty people are employed there and that number will double by the end of this year.

Lake foresees endless opportunities for Canada in the cannabis industry, initially with smokable buds and oils and a year later, with edibles. 

“I think it‘s a game changer for Canada for sure,” he says, “It‘s going to evolve, it won‘t be fully formed October 17, and there will be some bumps along the road.”

Some of those bumps involve concerns over enforcement and worries over reactions of customs officials at the U.S. Border.  Canada‘s Minister of Border Security said today it all depends on how people present themselves at the border.

“Quite frankly, if you show up doing the whole Cheech and Chong thing, you‘re going into secondary,” Bill Blair, the Minister of Border Security and Organized Crime told CTV’s Michel Boyer.

Then there‘s that six-month delay in retail storefronts in Ontario.   Ottawa cannabis lawyer Trina Fraser says the Ontario Cannabis store website, though, should be ready for on-line orders October 17th.

“As far as we know, supply will be available on October 17 on the online store,” says Fraser, “All signs point to the fact you will be able to buy as of that date but there will be no storefronts open.”

The legalization of marijuana is creating new industries, new millionaires and new job opportunities including "cannabis lawyers."  Trina Fraser says five years ago, no lawyer would admit to practicing in this field; now every lawyer is chasing it.