Currently cannabis, aka marijuana, is legal in Canada only for medicinal purposes and only under conditions outlined in the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations (ACMPR). issued by Health Canada.
In 2015, Justin Trudeau, Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada, committed to legalizing cannabis for personal use. Today Canada’s federal government is working on the legislation.
Even after it is legalized, cannabis will continue to be a controlled substance, similar to alcohol and tobacco. It is likely that the government will mandate that cannabis be grown in greenhouses.
Several points to consider:
- Greenhouses can be established on lower class land, and do not need to be developed on prime farmland.
- Cannabis and hemp open new cash crop markets for farmers.
- Cannabis and hemp, like corn for ethanol, are not food products.
- High market value for non-food products skews agriculture away from food and increases the cost of food.
It will take several years for the wrinkles to be ironed out and the legislation to stabilize. Farmers will be keen to investigate the opportunities presented by the new markets.
The bottom line is that cannabis is a non-food product and does not feed Ontarians.