When you compare cannabislegalization in Canada to how some American states are going about it, you’ll realize that the quality and price of Canadian cannabis is nowhere near the same level. People often say “look at what Colorado and Washington are doing”, but Canada took an entirely different path.
Here’s why Canada’s legalization of cannabis was doomed to be a failure.
1. In Canada, we treat cannabis as a herbal medicine under the Food and Drug Act
Thus, cannabis for sale must meet low microbial content standards which are lower than what’s naturally found on freshly-picked cannabis buds. 1.0 colony-forming units (cfu) of bacteria or less is presently allowed.
It is reported that approximately 80 percent of large, licensed producers irradiate their product, using heat or cold pasteurization and/or Enwave technology on their products. These processes evaporate resin heads and eliminate terpenes in cannabis anywhere from 20-38 percent. The plant’s resin heads, cannibinoids, cannibinols, and terpenes are vital to quality cannabis because they contain the flower’s flavours, aromas, taste, and, most importantly, the psychoactive effects.
Irradiation also sterilizes the plant, stopping it from curing or ripening any further. But why would licensed producers want this for their cannabis? Well, to extend shelf life, for one. Cannabis terpenes, cannibinoids and cannibinols further ripen and mature once they are picked from a plant in a process known as curing.
From Robert Connell Clarke’s book “Marijuana Botany: An Advanced Study”
“As floral clusters dry, and even after they are sealed and packaged, they continue to cure. Curing removes the unpleasant green taste and allows the resins and cannabinoids to finish ripening.
Drying is merely the removal of water from the floral clusters so they will be dry enough to burn.
Curing takes this process one step farther to produce tasty and psychoactive marijuana. A floral cluster is not dead after harvest any more than an apple is. Certain metabolic activities take place for some time, much like the ripening and eventual spoiling of an apple after it is picked.
During this period, cannabinoid acids decarboxylate into the psychoactive cannabinoids and terpenes isomerize to create new polyterpenes with tastes and aromas different from the freshly picked floral clusters. If the container is airtight and not vented, then rot from anaerobic bacteria and mold is often seen.”
Legalization doesn’t guarantee cannabis quality
While I don’t feel that licensed producers cure their cannabis properly before packaging, my original point was that irradiation stops the active things that are going on with the plant’s resin heads. I covered some quality issues in the past with the licensed producer’s products, in a series of videos with CLN.
With all of the samples, it was the same- dry and lacking any strong aroma, flavour, or taste- and there was something missing in the overall effects. I have consumed cannabis daily for over 35 years and judged many cannabis cups, and it is clear and obvious to a real cannabis connoisseur that there is a big difference between real, quality cannabis and what’s in these legal jars.
It’s definitely not the dank we have now, which will punch your nose into your face when you open a bag.
That’s a huge difference here in Canada compared to what is going on down in the legal states where dank, fresh bud is for sale.
Now, Canadians in the recreational market are beginning to see it too, as those that have tried this legal source say there is a noticeable difference between cannabis that is irradiated and cannabis that is not.
2. Canada has a thriving black market that offers thousands of different cannabis products
We’re talking real high-quality cannabis in a massive variety of different strains. The legal sources also can’t compete with the shatters, hashes, budders, isolates, distillates, and high-potency full-plant extracts from the black market. The last one is a particularly big one, as high-potency full-plant extracts have been a known cannabis cure for a melange of illnesses.
Edibles and topicals come in an array of different potencies and with literally thousands of different products to be found.
None of this is legal under the Cannabis Act, nor are any of the products mentioned above or their equivalents. There is already a well-established supply to the high demand of these products, and the people that use them already know where to obtain them and will continue to use them and that source, unless a legal equivalent with similar or better quality and price becomes available to them.
And yet, the government’s Cannabis Act regime does not offer any legal options to meet the demand for these products. How can we even call it legalization if such a large part of the cannabis market is still illegal?
That’s a big difference with what’s going on in the legal states where these above products have ALL been included in their legalization laws.
3. No deals on quantity or bulk purchases
The black market, since the dawn of my cannabis consuming years, has given deals on wholesale purchases.
I grew up in Kingston, Ontario, and Strathcona Park was my hood. I could get sticky black hash from Montreal at 10 bucks a gram in 1982, or 3 for $25, long before hydroponics came on the scene.
Nothing much has changed 35 years later. It’s still about 10 bucks a gram on average, and cannabis flower comes in cheaper. The black market people all deserve pats on the back, especially our growers, for keeping cannabis the same price for my 35 years of consuming, and hey, even longer for others!
Compare that to how much the price of a loaf of bread has risen since 1982, or a jug of milk, or liter of gas – cannabis prices didn’t inflate like that, at least not in Canada.
Canadian cannabis consumers already have their demand met by the supply that exists now and has for decades. They have the option to buy as little as eighths (3.5 grams) at a better deal, and the deals get better the more you buy. Everywhere in the black market, there are better prices for getting 1/4s, half ounces or ounces and we don’t stop there, pushing well past the 30-gram legal allowance to better deals on 1/4 pounds, half pounds and pound buys, all the way up to higher-level dealers.
The smaller pound and under-pound buys fuel an entire nation of small-time dealers in every neighbourhood across this country, from coast to coast. The legal cannabis regime does not give legal consumers any of these deals- you pay the same price per gram no matter how much you buy, plus tax.
Legalization has made cannabis way too expensive
Let’s take a look at the higher end of the legal price scale. On the Ontario Cannabis Store‘s website, strains like CBD Shark and Chocolope can be found for $22.66 a gram.
For those of you that consume a gram a day and want to purchase 28 grams of your legally-allowed 30 grams, that would cost you $634.38 with taxes included!
Meanwhile, on the black market, those same strains usually go for $150.00 an ounce up to $240 an ounce on average, depending on the quality of the bud, where you live in Canada, and who you may or may not know.
That’s a big difference between what’s going on in the legal states where deals on larger purchases are allowed.
Three big takeaways of Canada’s cannabis legalization
Forcing low microbial content thresholds on cannabis requires licensed producers to irradiate and/or spray their plants which is a big fail in terms of cannabis quality
Not allowing the melange of products that are readily available in the black market into the legal system is a complete fail in terms of legal access as there is none.
Not allowing deals on bulk purchases in the legal regime is a huge fail as it offers no monetary incentives for cannabis consumers to switch from their black market sources
These three things must change for any legal market to exist or even have a chance. The legal industry, with those self-proclaimed ‘experts’ of cannabis that are going on and on about eliminating the black market, are using new laws, new police enforcement units, new funding, and new training and tools to try and do so.
I guess I could take a knee on this and say good luck with that. But as an accurate and bonafide expert of this past and present-day cannabis industry, I know they don’t stand a chance in hell!