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Happy Cannaversary, Canada! What a difference 4 years makes.

On October 17th, 2018, Canada made history by becoming the second country in the world to legalize cannabis. This momentous occasion represented a considerable step forward for the country, as it improved access to cannabis. The new law means people can purchase, sell, produce, and distribute cannabis without fear of persecution or criminal charges. Not only was legalization a win for consumers and growers alike, but it opened up new opportunities in the booming cannabis industry, taking Canada's markets to new heights.

Legalization Changed the Game for the Cannabis Industry

Without the Cannabis Act being passed by the government, the cannabis industry might still be stuck in a legal gray area. This would have had several negative consequences for businesses in the sector, limiting their ability to scale and operate as effectively as they otherwise could. For example, without any clear regulations in place, it would have been difficult for cannabis producers to get the financing they needed to grow and expand.

With legalization opening the doors for a bustling marketplace, cannabis businesses have the potential to achieve unprecedented growth and profitability. This is especially true for cannabis cultivation, distribution, and retail sales.

Today we reflect on the anniversary of Cannabis Legalization Day in Canada. We'll share the history, past penalties for possession and the importance of Legalization Day.

Cannabis Possession Penalties Before Legalization

The use of cannabis was not only illegal in Canada, but also highly stigmatized. You would have to pay a hefty fine if you were found in possession of cannabis before legalization without a medical prescription. First-time offenders would have been required to pay a fine of $1,000, while repeat offenders could face jail time of up to 6 months. While such penalties seem harsh, they were intended to discourage people from breaking the law.

The Cannabis Act represented a significant shift in policy, as, before 2018, it had been illegal for anyone in Canada to possess or grow cannabis under any circumstances. With the passage of the Cannabis Act, adult citizens in Canada were finally given the freedom to use and purchase cannabis without having to worry about restrictions or legal repercussions. In addition, under this Act, adults 18 years and older were allowed to buy up to 30 grams of cannabis per transaction and grow up to 4 cannabis plants for personal use.

A Brief History of Cannabis Legalization

In 1923, cannabis was added to the Opium and Narcotic Drug Act. It was added to the prohibited drug list, including opium, morphine, cocaine and eucaine. This Act criminalized the consumption and possession of cannabis. Not much was done with cannabis legislation until 2001 when the government passed the Marihuana for Medical Access Regulations (MMAR), which allowed licensed patients to grow or access it through licensed growers.

In 2003 and 2004, Jean Chretien and Paul Martin introduced legislation to decriminalize cannabis, and both bills were denied.

In 2013, federal regulations allowed for the distribution and production of medical cannabis. In 2015, the Canadian government announced that it wanted to legalize cannabis use and regulate its sale. Finally, on October 17th, 2017, the Cannabis Act was passed, and cannabis was now legal for recreational and medical use.

Why Is October 17th An Important Day For The Cannabis Industry?

With cannabis now fully legalized in Canada, it's no surprise that the country is home to one of the largest cannabis industries in the world. As of June 30th, 2022, there were 3,231 cannabis stores across Canada.

When cannabis was legalized on October 17th, 2018, it changed the Canadian cannabis landscape . For retailers, it meant they suddenly had access to a new market of potential customers. Whether they were looking to open up brick-and-mortar shops or sign on as an online retailer, legalization opened up many opportunities for those in the cannabis industry.

October 17th is an important day for the Canadian cannabis industry. This day marks a milestone for those actively involved in the world of cannabis and those impacted by it. Whether you are a grower, processor, retailer, or just a supporter, October 17th represents all that the cannabis movement stands for freedom, innovation, and equality.

How Can Merrco Help?

At Merrco, we recognize Legalization Day and its significance to the cannabis industry in Canada. This important holiday acknowledges legalization 's important role in effectively regulating an industry that has grown considerably since its legalization in 2018. Not only has legalization enabled the cannabis industry to flourish in Canada, but it has also opened up numerous economic opportunities for cannabis businesses.

Merrco was founded to help businesses in the cannabis, CBD and regulated industry in Canada and the US to securely and efficiently process payments. We understand the challenges of running a business in this rapidly growing industry, so we provide our clients with the tools they need to succeed. If you have any questions on how we can best help you, contact us at or call our toll-free line at 1-800-957-0534.

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