One Week Away From Legalization Day
With Thanksgiving now behind us - asides from the inevitable carryover of turkey leftover creations - many people are now starting to count the days to Halloween or even Christmas. This year, though, there’s another special date to look forward to, and it’s now just a week away.
On October 17th, cannabis - known colloquially by many names such as pot, weed, and marijuana - will become legal across Canada. There has been a lot of speculation about what this will actually look like, and many people across cannabis-related industries have been watching closely to see how it will all play out. At High Definition Tours, we’ve been watching closely as well, to see how the legal landscape will affect our ability to offer high quality experiences to our guests.
Even a week away there is still a lot of uncertainty, but here are a few things we know right now:
There will be only one legal dispensary open on October 17th in B.C.
At this point the only store in British Columbia that has confirmed it will be open on October 17th is a government-run shop in Kamloops. While over 100 would-be cannabis retailers have submitted applications to the province for licenses, none of these have been fully processed yet and it is expected that it may not be until January at the earliest that privately-run retailers will be able to legally open.
What of currently operating cannabis dispensaries? We will not know for sure what they will do until October 17th, but it is expected that many of them will close their doors in order to apply for legal recreational status and avoid the stiff penalties that may come with legalization…
Legalization may mean more freedom… but also less
For the last few years since medical marijuana became legal and paved the way for a gradually relaxing public attitude towards cannabis, dispensaries and recreational users have existed in somewhat of a grey legal area, not fully legal and not fully illegal. Cannabis legalization is, in a sense, a double-edged sword. It brings greater freedom for legal weed, but it also brings stricter rules and stiffer, more enforceable, penalties for breaking them.
For example, under the new regulations if you are caught smoking a joint while waiting for the bus or walking through a provincial park, you could be looking at a $230 ticket doled out by B.C.’s brand new enforcement branch, the “Community Safety Unit”. Other “prohibited places” include provincial parks, the inside of vehicles and public buildings, near schools, on boats, and within six meters of any doorway, window or air intake.
The Price of Pot will go up with taxes applied
Prior to legalization, there has not been any sort of formally established pricing structure for cannabis. One of the things that has driven legalization forward, though, is the promise of all the tax dollars governments could be making if they allowed the already-thriving marijuana industry to come out into the open.
Sure enough, that time has come, and B.C. is no doubt eagerly awaiting its 15% mark-up on government-sold pot, as well as the combined provincial and federal sales taxes in B.C. which total another 13%, plus a bonus 2.3% “regulatory recovery fee” from Health Canada. Private retailers, once they enter or legally re-enter the scene, will have their own markups as usual, now with added taxes.
Still, The Adventure Awaits
Canada will be a different place on October 17th, and while most people agree the long-awaited changes won’t happen overnight, they are happening. What dispensaries and cannabis-related locations will you be able to visit, and when? What will all the new rules mean for you? Where will you be able to get the best price on the best B.C. Bud?
This is something we at High Definition Tours are working hard to figure out, so that you don’t have to. Our Cannabis Experience tours will equip you to navigate this adventurous new world, safely and legally, introducing you to the absolute best B.C. has to offer. Stay tuned to our website, Facebook and Instagram to stay up to date and be the first to know when our tours are ready for launch. See you soon!
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