Licensed Producers (LPs) of cannabis, and their associates, are watching the federal election with a close eye, bracing for the possibility of a change in government.
“We have the most anti-weed party in power right now,” said Jacob Securities analyst Khurram Malik. “Any other party that wins is a lot more friendly to marijuana than this one, so things will get done a little more efficiently and openly, so people can actually plan their businesses in a more reasonable and logical manner.”
Tweed Marijuana CEO and chairman Bruce Linton said, “This whole election’s very interesting… When you have a business that has the potential to see quite a lot of acceleration because of outcomes, you watch it more carefully.”
Michael Haines, the CEO of Mettrum, thinks the federal medical program can exist alongside a recreational platform governed by the provinces. He compared the future of the industry to states like Colorado and Washington that have legalized recreational cannabis.
However, Haines said LPs like Mettrum aren’t focused on the potential recreational market, as they are mandated to provide for the medical sector only.
“We didn’t get into this business hoping that it turns into a recreational market… That said, if that were to ever happen, we would be exceptionally well-positioned,” Haines said.
The Liberal Party has vowed to legalize cannabis, while the NDP have promised to decriminalize immediately. Either way, Licensed Producers who are registered under Harper’s Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations (MMPR) are hoping a changing of the guard results in less red tape for their industry, namely, a change in the distribution method.
Currently, LPs can only send medicine through the mail – patients are unable to receive their cannabis like any other medications, at a pharmacy.
Additionally, some cities, particularly Vancouver, have allowed medical marijuana dispensaries to operate, despite Health Canada’s disapproval. While Vancouver City Council have opted to regulate the businesses and the Vancouver Police Department have turned a blind eye to the dispensaries, the federal government has threatened to send in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to enforce the Food and Drugs Act.
The current system restricts LPs from legally providing to federally unrecognized dispensaries and have some upset with what they see as an unfair system.
Vancouver Island-based LP Tilray has been vocal with their opposition to dispensaries, even citing recent lay-offs at their business as the fault of their “illegal” competitors.
Tilray Chief executive Greg Engel told the media, “Before any government would want to look at any potential changes, that’s one of the issues they would need to address before moving forward,” he said referring to the dispensaries and compassion clubs.
The federal election takes place October 19.