The Canadian Government Is About 100 Years Behind On Technology…And It’s Hurting the Cannabis Industry

Canada’s Obsession With Overregulation

Canada loves to regulate things, the more regulations and red tape the better.

For a fast example, take a look at any Canadian government website, it looks like it was built in 2006 and hasn’t been updated since. Is this because there isn’t enough capital or manpower to do it? No, it’s more a case of changing fonts probably having to go through 3 levels of governments and years of debates, proposals and regulations.

Canada has also over regulated its alcohol and tobacco industries where the government acts like a cartel, and local governments have been strict with new and innovative technologies like Uber and AirBnb, which in 2018 should be welcomed, but of course, not so much in Canada. Last year’s federal budget held an unwelcome tax for Uber and other ride-hailing services.

The levy imposes GST/HST on fares, much like they are added on traditional taxi services. Uber is also illegal in Vancouver, opening up a black market of ride services.

Henceforth, Doth Not Forget Thee Stamp, Gents!

Last week we wrote about how the new proposals from Health Canada for additional cannabis products like edibles, topicals and drinkables have some arcane regulations that could absolutely hinder the future of the cannabis industry in Canada, but for now, the number one thing holding back the Canadian cannabis industry according to Newstrike CEO Jay Wilgar is stamps.

Yes, stamps. 

Paper stamps.

According to an interview with the Financial Post:

The excise stamps need to be glued on in a way that seals the package, but also “does not interfere with the stamp’s security features,” or “obstruct any information” on the package, according to information on the Canada Revenue Agency’s website.

“We got in a whole bunch of stamps, but then we realized that it didn’t fit on our cannabis packages, so we couldn’t use those and then had to reorder more of a different size,” said Jay Wilgar, CEO of Newstrike Resources, which operates licensed producer UP Cannabis. According to Wilgar, the stamps arrived much later than the company had expected, and his staff had to work overnight in order to meet a deadline for their first shipment to the Ontario Cannabis Store.

“It’s the single biggest factor that slowed us down,” he said.

Stamps must be put on every single product shipped out in Canada, proving the company has paid taxes. Elon Musk is working on drilling massive holes to create underground tunnels under the city of Los Angeles, the US military has been integrating AI into its operations, and the cliche, we can put a man on the moon but, the Canadian government is still obsessed with its paper stamps.

Of course, we don’t need something as complex as space travel or AI to solve this problem, how about a cannabis logistics company instead?

Organigram (OGI) came out with a press release today calling for a re-examination of the stamp issue, stating:

“Canada’s alcohol industry moved away from the practice of physical excise stamps years ago in favour of a far more efficient reporting process, and no U.S. state which has legalized cannabis requires excise stamps.

Especially in such a new industry, where the efficiency of the manufacturing process is paramount and non-stamp tracking solutions are available, it is not only counter-intuitive but also counter-productive to demand the manual, physical application of these stamps.”

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