“I think there's just a general, old-fashioned,
negative attitude toward the legalization of marijuana,” says Daniel
Jardine, a lawyer at Jardine Law in Miramichi, N.B. “It’s a big change
While 62 per cent of respondents say they support
legalization, they’re skeptical that the government will be able to
crack down on keeping financial earnings of cannabis sales out of the
hands of organized crime.
Victor Liu, a partner at Goodmans LLP in
Toronto, says people have valid concerns about fighting off the illegal
market. One reason people may still turn to the illegal market is
because of accessibility issues — legal dispensaries won’t suddenly be
available across the country by Oct. 17.
“People like to have access to products for convenience,” he says.
instance, British Columbia has received hundreds of applications for
privately owned cannabis retail shops through a portal that launched
Aug. 10, and since then, only one application has been given the green
light, says James Munro, partner at McMillan LLP in Vancouver.
says the process might be moving slowly, but the benefit is that it
gives the government time to properly vet each application and get it
Cost of product is also a factor in keeping business out
of the black market. Liu says that, due to taxes, the potential for
additional provincial fees and producer licensing fees, prices won’t be
“super low.” High-priced cannabis could potentially drive consumers back
to the black market.
“One can quickly see that the numbers add up
and become non-competitive with the price that people can get on the
streets,” he says.
Jardine says Canadians should understand the positive impact legalization will have on the criminal courts.
[people] understood how much time is wasted in court, policing small
quantities of marijuana possession — just simple possession, not
trafficking — and the tax savings, I think they’d [understand] the
burden it has on the court system is incredible,” he says. “I don't
think people should be so concerned.”
He also says that the fines handed out for simple possession were so small it was not deterring people from obtaining cannabis.
says that although he is not a criminal lawyer, he sees the potential
for considerable litigation in the future with respect to roadside
screening that may ultimately need to be settled by the Supreme Court of
“We have to make sure that when we're testing drivers, we
do that in a fair manner and the test that the federal government has
approved is a saliva test, which is much different than the current
roadside screening tests for alcohol,” he says.
provinces have been updating criminal laws for impaired driving prior to
legalization, Jardine says that the laws aren’t necessarily worrisome.
Rather, what is concerning are the measures to effectively police it.
recognition experts are few and far between in most police forces and
that's going to be the biggest issue in policing the individuals that
are driving while impaired,” he says.
Looking ahead, cannabis-infused foods and drinks will remain illegal until 2019.
road to legalizing recreational cannabis is going to be a long one.
There's going to certainly be twists and turns the road from now to Oct.
17 and beyond,” says Munro.