Longtime marijuana advocate Neev Tapiero is ready for the cannabis-driven tourists to come, and he’s not waiting for legalization to roll out the welcome mat.
Ontario says it will begin selling recreational cannabis online on Oct. 17, with private retail stores supplying marijuana from April 1, 2019. The province says consumers will only be allowed to use legalized cannabis in private residences.
Oct. 17, when cannabis becomes legal, marijuana users who get behind the wheel will find themselves veering back into murky legal territory. While there may be new drugged driving laws on the books — and saliva testing devices heading soon to a police cruiser near you — critics say the legal landscape is still hazy for marijuana users who drive, with the potential to criminalize people who are not actually impaired.
It’s no secret that most Canadian marijuana stocks have floundered so far this year. CannTrust Holdings Inc. (NASDAQOTH:CNTTF) is a good case in point, with the marijuana grower’s share price sinking more than 25% year to date. Canopy Growth Corporation (NYSE:CGC), on the other hand, is an exception to the rule. Canopy stock has gained nearly 10% thus far in 2018.
The cannabis industry is seizing upon the cracks that have emerged in Ontario’s previous plan for selling legalized marijuana, in some cases offering to help lay the groundwork for private-sector retail.
“You just have to watch a Cheech and Chong movie to know that cannabis makes you susceptible to laughter,” says Mark Breslin, founder of Yuk Yuk’s comedy clubs in Canada.
“Ontario is a frenzy right now in terms of entrepreneurs, real estate developers — anybody within the cannabis infrastructure,” said David Martyn, president of Starbuds Canada and Compass Cannabis Clinic.
Canadians are routinely being stopped at U.S. customs and asked about their usage of or involvement with marijuana. And some who have admitted smoking weed in the past or who are dealing with legal cannabis production in even a peripheral fashion are being refused entry to the United States.