Our very own JD/MBA Beverly Cheung receives Canadian Bar Association's 2019 English Langlois Prize for best scholarly paper on the topic of business law!
MARKETING AN UNMARKETABLE PRODUCT: THE NEED FOR A LESS STRINGENT CANNABIS LEGAL FRAMEWORK IN ORDER TO DEVELOP A SUSTAINABLE LICIT MARKET
Beverly Cheung, JD/MBA Candidate, Class of 2020
Canada’s newly enacted legal framework for cannabis is aimed at protecting the health and safety of citizens and curtailing the long-standing illicit market that dominates the industry today. In drafting this regime, Parliament was faced with the difficult task of balancing the protection of public health and safety with the facilitation of a successful licit industry. Although adopting a rather conservative approach that emphasizes health and criminal law concerns may have been appropriate to start with, the legal framework in its current form with respect to marketing restrictions unduly restricts the ability of cannabis producers to succeed in the long-run. More importantly, an unsustainable licit market indirectly fuels the illicit market, further undermining public health and safety. This paper explores how the current cannabis framework, in practice, leads to unintended consequences that frustrate certain policy objectives outlined in the Cannabis Act. Part I reviews the current marketing restrictions in the Cannabis Act. Part II compares the cannabis framework to both tobacco and alcohol regulations. Part III explores how the current marketing restrictions lead to the inability to meet the policy objectives of providing quality-controlled supply, combating the illicit market, and protecting public health and safety. Finally, Part IV provides recommendations on key areas within the Cannabis Act that could be adjusted to better achieve the stated policy objectives.