Cannabis had gone legal in Canada on October 17th, 2018.
Being a cannabis enthusiast far before I had become a regular user, this was a huge moment in my life. For the first time in our lives, cannabis was going to be available recreationally for anyone over the age of 19 (Ontario) to purchase and consume. Many of us were aware that with cannabis going legal, it was going to be the start of a long, but joyous journey which would involve factors such as the quality of flower, cost, regulations, home growing laws and so forth.
With Canada on the cusp of legalization, it didn’t occur to me I could start growing my own cannabis at home. In Ontario, citizens would be allowed to grow four plants per household, recreationally. My cousin reached out to me and said he had started picking up supplies to start his own grow which opened my eyes to this opportunity. I pitched the idea to my parents and I got the go-ahead to start my own grow. This was an exciting time in my life as the idea of growing cannabis had never crossed my mind.
In the first few months of legalization, I had placed an order on O.C.S. for some flower to see what the market had to offer. I ordered three strains, Shishkaberry, Tangerine Dream and God Bud. Needless to say, this cannabis was far inferior compared to what I had received from other sources in the years before legalization. That being said, my first experience with legal cannabis was satisfactory, but something it proved to me was the cannabis industry had a lot of room to grow (no pun intended). This also opened my mind to the fact that I can now learn to grow my own cannabis rather than having to buy it and not knowing what to expect.
Now… It's 3 years later.
Three years after legalization, the situation remains fairly similar but there are a few noteworthy changes to highlight. The quality of flower the legal market offers has increased drastically as there are hundreds of new Licenced Producers to thank for this. The pricing of cannabis has decreased and it is increasingly common to find quality flower for a decent price. Although, the market still has flower that comes with a higher price tag USUALLY resulting in better quality. The innovation in the industry has increased with new products such as lip balm, bath bombs, beverages, creams, different extracts and so on, that provide a brand new way to benefit from the plant. Consumer demographic is beginning to diversify, which can be seen at the many physical dispensaries in Ontario. We have evolved from the days where there would be a stereotypical consumer, to a new age where the general population is starting to understand the uses and benefits of cannabis and how they can incorporate it into their lives.
As far as the home grower goes, laws surrounding cannabis haven’t changed much. You are still able to grow four plants per household, recreationally, with the exception of holding a prescription from a authorized professional. This can be used to apply for a license to grow a larger quantity of cannabis plants under the ACMPR (Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes). From my everyday experience with consumers, many people among us are growing their cannabis outside every summer, who may not even be regular users. I think it's amazing that anyone who chooses to, can grow cannabis and most are incorporating it into their yearly gardens. On the other hand, there are consumers like me, who have might plenty of cannabis from a personal grow, but still are still able to purchase quality cannabis from the dispensary to have some variety. All around I think the cannabis community is growing rapidly which is something that is going to be positive for the future of this industry.
With all this being said, I think there are both pros and cons with cannabis legalization as well as the changes being made. As of October 2021, the government is now reviewing the cannabis legislation which is going to bring some change in the coming years. I think the last three years of legalization has brought many changes, both positive and negative. While we wait for further information about this new legislation, the future is uncertain. Will we see higher dose edibles, higher plant counts, larger purchase quantities, none of us really know. While we wait patiently, we will all keep doing what we're doing, hoping and pushing for the cannabis industry to grow and bring success to fellow enthusiasts.
What's your thoughts on legal cannabis in Canada today?