By Dave Harrison
Dec. 14, 2016, Smiths Falls, Ont. – There are many positives for the horticulture industry in the recently released federal Task Force on Cannabis Legalization and Regulation report, according to one industry leader.
“This report is good news for Canadians and in our view provides a strong policy framework for the government to consider,” said Bruce Linton, chairman and CEO of Canopy Growth Corporation.
“Most importantly, we think it confirms that the current medical system for production is working and should form the backbone of ongoing production into the future. It recognizes the value of limited grow-at-home and diversity of producers and access methods, all things we support as a Company. It also recognizes that the existing mail order system has merit as an ongoing complementary distribution system reaching all Canadians conveniently and securely.”
Canopy has concerns that the Task Force is recommending no differentiated tax regime for medical and recreational sales, which has the potential to unduly burden cannabis patients.
“A path forward to insurance coverage must also remain a top priority for Canadian policymakers,” said Linton. “Cannabis access can only truly be achieved if barriers to affordability are removed.”
On branding, Canopy agrees with the need to limit promotion of cannabis, particularly anything that promotes the product to children or encourages irresponsible consumption.
“In our view, however, cannabis is not the same as tobacco or alcohol and merits its own carefully considered framework. Packaging debates are driven by public health concerns and rules surrounding packaging and promotion need to be balanced against cannabis’s unique existence in the black market and the relative harms it presents to society and youth.”
Lastly, on the topic of ‘corporate cannabis,’ “we are proud of the hundreds of jobs we have created, the millions of dollars we have spent in Canadian communities building world-class production facilities, the thousands of doctors and researchers we have visited, the tens of thousands of patients we serve, and that we are building an innovative global cannabis company based right here in Canada,” said Linton.
“Our investments result in improved support, variety and quality for Canadian customers and we are proud to always seek to advance the dialogue on cannabis policy. We are privileged to be a part of this exciting change, and look forward to expanding on our contributions in this sector over the months and years to come.”
“Many details still need to be worked through but this appears to be a very promising start to a successful Canadian policy framework, and we are thankful to the Task Force for their hard work in bringing concise policy recommendations forward on a very complex issue.”