The Hurdles of Cannabusiness 

Following a long history of social debate and discourse, Parliament legalized recreational cannabis across Canada on October 17th, 2018. Among the goals of this act was to put a halt to the illicit cannabis market while providing a safe supply for those who choose to smoke, and to protect the youth of Canada by limiting their access to cannabis. However, the restrictions laid out in the Cannabis Act make it difficult for it’s stated purposes to be carried out. If we want to put an end to the cannabis black market, while concurrently protecting Canadian youth, some changes may need to come to the legal Cannabis field.

In this episode, we discuss with our esteemed guests, lawyers Lewis Retik and Matt Maurer, the hurdles that cannabis businesses must overcome, and ponder changes that can be made in the Cannabis field that will aid in the goals of the Cannabis Act to be realized. Our first guest, Lewis Retik, co-leads the Cannabis group at Gowling WLG’s Ottawa office. He often works with his clients to develop marketing strategies as well as packaging and advertising designs that are both consumer-friendly and compliant with the law. Our second guest, Matt Maurer, is the chair of Torkin Manes LLP’s Cannabis group. He advises his clients on practical business and regulatory advice to counsel a wide range of cannabis industry stakeholders. Such as, licensed producers, people applying to be producers, startups, and foreign businesses looking to enter the Canadian market. 

Quin Myles and Julian Shivprasad– Producers, Hosts, Editors

Pro Bono Radio is part of the Queen’s chapter of Pro Bono Students Canada. The Pro Bono Radio team are not lawyers, and this is not legal advice.

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Research Referred to in the Podcast:

Canada, Health Canada, About the Process: Cannabis Security Clearances

Canada, Health Canada, Cannabis Act Legislative Review, 22 September 2022.

Canada, Health Canada, Legislative Review of the Cannabis Act: What We Heard Report, 10 October 2023

Canada, Public Safety Canada, Cannabis Black Market

Cannabis Act, SC 2018, c. 16.

CBC, Cannabis Law Review to Explore How Legalization Is Going, 2022.

CBC, Feds to review Canada’s cannabis legislation after a year delay, 2022.

CBC, Push to Loosen Rules on Canadian cannabis sales, THC limits, 2023.

Jeremy de Beer & Alyssa Gaffen, “Intellectual Property Rights in the Recreational Cannabis Market: Craft or Comoddity? (2017) 50:3 UBC LR 621

Ranjeev Dhillon, Rami Chalabi & Matthew Sanders, “Cannabis” in McCarthy Tetrault, Doing Business in Canada (2023)

Rob Matthews, Samantha Greer & Francois Desmarais, “Cannabis Debt Financing: Current Market Snapshot and Considerations for Lenders, Investors, and Underwriters” Baker McKenzie Leveraged Finance Newsletter (December 2019)

Nick Noonan, “High Time for a Change: Combatting the Black Market for Cannabis in Canada” (2021) 44:3 Manitoba LJ 257