Legal Cannabis Under Review: How Canada Can Fix the Cannabis Act, Boost Growth, and Relax Regulations

In addition, there is a significant industry demand to allow the operation of cannabis lounges that would function similarly to a local bar or cafe while providing a safe environment for the public to use and enjoy. cannabis products. As regulations ease, we expect an increase in consumer demand for cannabis consumption salons, which will further help legitimize cannabis use and its social acceptance.

One of the main complaints about the current state of the cannabis industry is that it is mostly owned and operated by white males. Does the federal government or its provincial counterparts have the capacity to introduce more equity in this sector?

Last year, the Center on Drug Policy Evaluation released a brief examining the race and gender of officers and directors of 222 companies, including 185 licensed producers, in the legal cannabis industry in Canada. The project found that 14% of the managerial positions examined were held by women and 16% by non-white people, including both managerial and managerial roles. This figure is disappointing, for example, compared to 23.4% of board seats held by women among all TSX-listed companies and 33.2% of board seats held by women among companies in the Toronto Stock Exchange. S & P / TSX 60.

Unfortunately, it is still much easier to identify this disparity than to modify it. The gender diversity disclosure requirements introduced by the Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) in 2014 for reporting issuers, and the race, disability and gender diversity disclosure requirements introduced in 2020 for Canadian federally incorporated companies have not resulted in increased rates of change in diversity on boards of directors or in executive positions. A study published in April 2021 by the Conference Board of Canada concluded that “there is no convincing evidence” that the CSA disclosure requirements in 2014 accelerated the rate of entry of women to boards of directors . We don’t expect any level of government to launch diversity initiatives specifically for the cannabis industry in the near future. The appetite for official diversity quotas, a policy adopted in one form or another by 27 of 36 OECD countries with measurable results increasing diversity, has not gained much popularity in Canada.

One potentially acceptable tool for increasing diversity in the cannabis industry is to follow the examples of some US states such as California, Massachusetts and Illinois, and create a social equity program (“SEP”) that facilitates entry into the cannabis industry for members of disadvantaged groups. Taking Massachusetts for example, people who meet the SEP requirements of that state’s Cannabis Control Commission are granted license application fee waivers, expedited license reviews, technical support, and licensing. free training, exclusive access periods for resale and delivery license types, and more. While such a program may have a limited impact on the many established companies in the Canadian cannabis market and does not prevent the loss of diversity as a commercial scale, it is a lesser mechanism. controversial that the government could adopt to start tackling diversity issues.

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