Day: October 4, 2018
By Peleshia Dubidad
It has been estimated that the cannabis industry will be worth between $5 and $7 billion, and in a matter of weeks this fledgling industry becomes subject to regulation at the federal, provincial and municipal levels, and begins impacting many facets of Canadians’ everyday lives, and Canadian lawyers’ everyday practice.
As that time fast approaches, the Law Society held a televised seminar on September 28, 2018 discussing legalization of recreational marijuana and its impact on the various practice areas of our members.
Some of our presenters and staff acknowledged Orange Shirt Day at the session. The day was conceived in 2013 to raise awareness and generate discussion around the Residential School System and the impact it had on Indigenous communities in Canada.
The day had a series of sessions from The Story So Far: Legalization in Canada to a discussion of implementation and regulation. Our presenters for the morning were Dan Florizone, an Executive-in-Residence from the Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy, and Jennifer Pereira of Robertson Stromberg who discussed marijuana from an insurance perspective. Neil Karkut and Joanne Gasper completed the morning with a presentation on the provincial act. Both Neil and Joanne were a part of the provincial working group responsible for developing The Cannabis Control (Saskatchewan) Act. Joanne, in her position as the Director of Cannabis Licensing and Inspections Branch at the Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority, and Neil in his capacity as Senior Crown Counsel with the Ministry of Justice, Legislative Services Branch.
The afternoon kicked off with a very engaging session on the criminal law perspective presented by Foster Weisgerber, Q.C. and Brooke Johnson, both of whom are a part of McDougall Gauley’s criminal law practice group. This was followed by a panel presentation with Steve Seiferling and Crystal Norbeck, who discussed the labour and employment implications of legalization from an employer and employee perspective, respectively.
Our day was wrapped up with a panel discussion given by representatives from the RCMP – Cpl. Brian Ferguson and Cpl. Dan Climenhaga – and the Regina Police Service – Cpl. Shannon Gordon – who offered their perspectives on legalization from a law enforcement perspective.
As Canada becomes only the second country in the world to fully legalize marijuana we will look forward, in anticipation, for the “Ash to Settle” and for the effects of legalization to play out across not only the profession, but the entire country.