The headline that says Canadians can grow their own medical marijuana might inadvertently give the impression that Canada is moving towards a model of uncontrolled growing.
With that in mind some people and some investors have sold the current crop of Licensed Producers (LP) short when in fact the added focus will quickly expose the overgrowing and diversion of marijuana that is currently flooding dispensaries.
It's counter intuitive to say but I believe that time will show that implementing the Court's ruling (assuming for the moment that the Government will not appeal the decision) will actually bring more control and order to the Canadian marijuana marketplace.
The elephant in the room in Canada these days is the so called "compassion clubs" and "dispensaries" that are in business of retailing pot even though there is absolutely no legal supply of marijuana for them to be selling. Don't let the cloud of pot smoke or the curious efforts at dispensary regulation undertaken by the City of Vancouver fool you, these dispensaries and compassion clubs are illegal and I think that the most positive outcome of today's Court Ruling will be to clarify their status.
And by clarify I mean provide clear direction to the police that the law in Canada does not condone the sale of marijuana through dispensaries and retail settings that are popping up in neighbourhoods and selling product of questionable legal origin and with no assurance that the product has been safely grown.
The sad truth is that for years now a whole bunch of people have been buying pot from dispensaries, under the guise that that they are medicinal purchasers even though no Medical Professional has signed a form or a prescription to that effect. Want to know how the surplus bud is created?
Mrs. Jones received approval under the old MMAR model to have 6 plants to address her medicinal needs. Because Mrs. Jones' days of gardening are behind her due to her prevalent arthritis she opts to have a Designated Grower tend her plants for her.
The Designated Grower in turn takes the 6 plants approval from Mrs. Jones and turns those 6 plants into mini trees that produce far more weed than Mrs. Jones could ever require. The surplus from those 6 plants, somewhat legitimized due to Mrs. Jones' paperwork, is now sold into the black market, dispensaries or compassion clubs with no traceability. Staff at those establishments can even pretend the weed is legitimate because after all there was a permit for those six plants.
What there isn't however is an exemption that allows the surplus production from Mrs. Jones' six plants to be marketed at all, much less provided to people who have not even met the test of having received a recommendation from a designated Medical Professional.
About 70,000 or 80,000 Canadians are legally entitled to consume marijuana for medical purposes and about half of those have had no choice but to get their product via courier from Licensed Producers. So where is all the pot that feeds dispensaries coming from?
Tightening the seepage of this quasi-legitimate pot will be a huge step forward as the government contemplates the means of implementing legalization.
The impact on Licensed Producers from the Court ruling should be net positive as more people who have become accustomed to getting their supply from dispensaries may be forced to legitimize their consumption by obtaining a Prescription from a Medical Professional.
That those same people will have the right to grow their own is not that great a threat considering that Medicinal Marijuana product is quickly evolving from joints to extracts and oils which is not that easy unless you are looking for a new hobby.
At the same time, even without the impact of legalization, Health Canada predicts a 10-fold increase in the number of medicinal marijuana patients.
No matter how you cut it, the market for Licensed Producers in Canada will continue to grow even as some patients choose to be green thumbs.
The real economic threat posed by the Court ruling is to those who have been operating outside of the intent and the spirit of the law(s) and who are likely now to be fully exposed.
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