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Phil Hogan, CPA, CA, CPA (CO)
Cross-Border Tax and Investment Specialist
Recording #1: Information on investing or incorporating on a Cannabis-related company.
As most of you know, the federal government plans on legalizing Cannabis in 2018. We don’t have full regulations as of yet and they’ve left it to the provinces to regulate the distribution of Cannabis independently. So what does that mean for anybody who’s thinking about getting into the Cannabis or Marijuana industry? Well first, I think you want to be prudent in how you approach either investing or starting up a new Cannabis dispensary or company. The only real, legal way to sell Cannabis in Canada currently, is through online methods by purchasing product from online licensed producers, or purchasing Cannabis from online dispensaries that purchase from licensed producers. That’s currently the only way that Cannabis can be purchased legally in Canada.
Now there are some provinces and some cities like Victoria and Vancouver that have a significant amount of dispensaries already open on the retail front. However technically, even though police don’t seem to be raiding and closing down these dispensaries, these establishments are not currently legal under the current framework. Both BC and Alberta have begun the consultation period for retail distribution. They’ve listed out a 30-40 day consultation period with the public. Once that consultation period is competed they’ll roll out how and when the retail distribution model will be presented provincially. Ontario has already proposed that they’ll be regulating and selling Cannabis through retail locations in government-run stores through the LCBO. This was a shock to many, some in BC or most in BC hope that the province of BC will move to a more dispensary retail framework instead of government-run framework. That would require all current dispensaries to be licensed and it also doesn’t mean that each dispensary is going to maintain its operations, depending on what regulations get rolled out. Many of these dispensaries can and most likely will be shut down.