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Torkin Manes sponsors Queen's Law Alumni Panel: Cannabis in Canada - A Year in Review

Last week, Torkin Manes sponsored the Queen's Law Alumni Event Cannabis in Canada - A Year in Review. 

It’s been one year since recreational cannabis was legalized in Canada, but the black market is still in bloom. An alumni panel of experts weighed in on this dilemma and other issues at the Toronto event, “Cannabis in Canada: a year in review,” on October 17.

“How can we create a better market so that legal cannabis flourishes?” Professor Art Cockfield, Law’93, tax law scholar and consultant, posed that question to his co-panelists:

  • Matt Maurer, Law’06, Partner & Co-Chair, Cannabis Law Group, Torkin Manes LLP;
  • Ruth Chun, Law’06, Founder and Advisor, Chun Law Professional Corporation;
  • Jason Sonshine, Law’09, Vice-President, Strategy, Auxly Cannabis Group; and
  • Gareth Stackhouse, Law’11, Associate, Condo Law Group, Fogler, Rubinoff LLP.

Maurer, host of the panel sponsored by his firm, responded, “To combat the illicit market, we have to have stores. But, as a provincial example, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario has now disqualified almost as many licenses as they granted since the start of the year.” While some producers that were granted licenses remain in compliance by not changing ownership for one year, they are at risk of being disqualified for such reasons as wording in their applications not being repeated verbatim in contract documents that followed.

Agreeing that the Ontario government should allow more retail stores to open, Chun cites an example, “In B.C, the number of stores is abysmal and the black market is mature.” Another alternative she suggested was changing the tax policy on medical cannabis. “It’s the only prescription medicine that is taxed and that’s an access to medicine issue in terms of cost affordability,” she says. “If you need cannabis as medicine and you can’t afford it, you’re going to go to the black market.”

To read more and to watch the panel discussion, click here

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