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| October 9, 2020

Healthier and Wealthier: Loosening CBD Product Rules Could Lead To Economic Boom in Canada

Erica Young

Erica is a writer based out of central Illinois. She graduated from Illinois State University with a degree in English.... Erica is a writer based out of central Illinois. She graduated from Illinois State University with a degree in English. She has been working as a freelance journalist since 2016.
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Two years after Canada legalized recreational cannabis, it’s clear – this plant isn’t the devil the authorities made it out to be.

And now, it appears the average Canadian is more aware of CBD, THC’s non-psychoactive cousin. In the past couple of years, first-time buyers have used CBD to relieve discomfort, stress, and other problems.

Even now, it can be hard to find certain CBD products, as domestic suppliers struggle to keep up with demand. In a perfect world, retailers would import what they need from abroad. However, Health Canada currently prohibits the importation of CBD health products.

The demand is there. But, so long as the import ban remains in place, Canadians will be forced to do without. And collectively, we’ll continue to leave money on the table.

 

The History of CBD Laws in Canada

To better understand our current situation, a quick history lesson is in order. Starting in 1923, Canada restricted the use of cannabis. For most of our lives, this plant has had an unfair stigma attached to it.

Yet, throughout the history of civilization, people have been using this plant for medicinal purposes. As far back as 1550 BCE, Egyptian scrolls described the use of cannabis in healing procedures.

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Even while federal authorities were busting people for possession, scientists were uncovering its curative properties. For instance, a paper published in Pharmacology in 1980 showed partial or full improvements in 7 of 8 epileptic patients.

Evidence like this kept mounting throughout the late 20th century. Finally, in 1998, Health Canada legalized the growing of industrial hemp. A few years later, the government legalized cannabis for medicinal purposes. And then, amidst overwhelming public support (7 in 10), recreational CBD use became legal in 2018.

 

The Current Rules Surrounding CBD in Canada

For almost a century, the authorities have propagandized the public concerning cannabis and CBD. So, when the time came to legalize their use, the federal government instituted strict rules to prevent “abuse”.

These included strict limitations surrounding the marketing and sale of CBD products. In the Cannabis Act, CBD, despite its non-psychoactive properties, is still treated as a controlled substance. As such, only licensed retailers can sell CBD products.

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Meanwhile, elsewhere in the world, you’ll find CBD in countless natural health products. These nations realize that CBD is not an intoxicant, and is tolerated by humans very well. Meanwhile, in their quest to appear “responsible”, the Canadian government is blocking access to medicine, as well as the badly-needed economic growth it would unleash.

 

Other Countries Have Sufficiently Regulated CBD Production

Elsewhere on this planet, governments are taking a more pragmatic view of CBD. Aware of its medicinal properties and its stability, they’ve permitted its use in a variety of products.

Take the United Kingdom, for example. In that country, natural health products can contain CBD, so long as no THC is present. Additionally, retailers must have a Novel Food license. Apart from that, anyone can sell CBD-infused products in the UK. Unlike Canada, retailers may also import CBD health products from abroad. If the product has a THC content of under 0.01%, then the importer requires no additional licenses.

Now, we don’t need to tell you the obvious – the United Kingdom is a fully-developed country. They know CBD is not a human health threat – as we know, it’s the opposite. So, why is the federal government blocking the import/export of CBD products?

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The Domestic Market is Not Meeting the Needs of Canadians

Right now, the law only permits licensed private shops and government-run stores to sell CBD. Although the number of outlets has increased significantly since 2018, supplies can still run low. According to cbdoilguide.ca, specific CBD products can be hard to track down at times. In the Canadian market, full spectrum CBD oil is still the best seller and demand is increasing.

This situation has nothing to do with supply constraints – it’s an artificially created situation, based in political fear. Those in power believe that most Canadians view CBD as an intoxicant. So, higher-ups squash any effort to liberalize the rules around CBD, as they believe the optics would look terrible.

However, the UK has allowed CBD in natural health products for a couple of years now. There has been no crisis regarding poisonings, accidental “highs”, or anything like that. Instead, the British public now enjoys expanded access to CBD, and all of its healing properties.

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In contrast, Canada’s conservative stance on CBD is only withholding help from those who need it. Retailers have sold legal CBD products for two years now. As in the UK, there has been no public health crisis surrounding CBD (or THC, for that matter).

As tempting as it is to speculate about collusion between entrenched producers and the government, we won’t. Instead, we’ll say this – it makes no sense that CBD hasn’t been declared a safe, natural substance. By doing so, we could pave the way for its inclusion in countless products. As a result, Canadians would have vastly increased access to this fantastic compound within months.

 

Now More Than Ever, We Need To Stimulate Growth

Our economy, like most around the world, is hurting right now. Thanks to COVID-19, GDP has cratered, and unemployment has soared. As such, the government should consider anything that could provide a boost.

So, why not allow natural health companies to produce CBD products? As we’ve established, there is significant demand in this country for CBD. Most have no interest in the “high” that THC offers, but there’s plenty of interest in the broader availability of CBD.

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According to a government consultation on cannabis health products, most respondents want CBD-only health products. Many of them also commented that the government shouldn’t treat CBD the same way as THC.

So, if the Feds loosen the rules surrounding CBD, what could we expect in terms of growth? According to various research firms, the CBD market in America will become a 20 billion USD industry by 2024. Canada is about 1/9th the size of the USA – assuming demand here is the same, that means 2.9 billion CAD could be up for grabs.

Imagine the jobs and wealth that would create. In our recovery from the COVID recession, all options should be on the table.

 

CBD is Not THC

As far as we’re concerned. it’s an open-and-shut case. CBD is not an intoxicant, the UK has had no issues with CBD sales, and its economic potential is staggering. By liberalizing CBD laws, an economic boom is sure to follow.


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