Restructure This! Episode 3: Canada: Cannabis Boom or Bust?


Canada legalized recreational cannabis in 2018, but the legal cannabis market continues to struggle even three years later. Observers blame overregulation by both federal and provincial regimes, high taxation, and a thriving black market that continues to sell cannabis at much lower prices. What has this meant for cannabis bankruptcies in Canada, and what lessons can the U.S. learn?  We speak with Kathryn Esaw, partner in the Insolvency and Restructuring group at Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP, and Susan Newell, partner in Osler’s Health Industry and Cannabis groups.  

Kathryn’s practice focuses on proceedings under the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act and the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act throughout Canada. She has represented debtors, court officers, creditors, purchasers and lenders. Kathryn also has experience in restructurings under the Canada Business Corporations Act.

Susan provides strategic advice to health industry stakeholders in connection with mergers and acquisitions, healthcare corporate restructurings and integrations, corporate governance matters, shareholders agreements, commercial agreements, outsourcing, clinical trial agreements and regulatory opinions in connection with federal and provincial health and cannabis statutes. Susan regularly advises cannabis license holders and other industry participants with navigating Canadian commercial operations within the cannabis regulatory environment, including licensing, supply agreements and promotional and advertising activities.

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What We Discussed in This Episode:

  • What Canada’s federal Cannabis Act governs and the objectives behind the legislation
  • What aspects of recreational cannabis sales that the provincial laws govern 
  • How the Canadian regime differs substantially from the US, where cannabis is still banned at the federal level but over a dozen states have legalized and regulated it
  • The structural challenges that legal recreational cannabis market in Canada faces
  • How the COVID-19 pandemic impacted cannabis bankruptcies

Contact Information:

Kathryn Esaw

Susan Newell

This podcast is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not to be construed as legal advice specific to your circumstances. If you need help with any legal matter, be sure to consult with an attorney regarding your specific needs.

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