In Spring everything is full of promise…. when it comes to cannabis legalization Canadians definitely have spring fever.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is making history by keeping his promise made on the campaign trail to legalize cannabis across the nation. He has pledged to introduce legislation this spring for legal recreational cannabis for adult use. But, Canadian’s can’t wait for spring to get the green light on legal cannabis. Prime Minister Trudeau has created a monumental undertaking for himself. But he has a legacy to uphold and he was born for it. He is the eldest son of the 15th Prime Minister, Pierre Trudeau, who was known as not only a free-thinker but as being very progressive himself. He created the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Canada’s Bill of Rights adopted in 1982, which greatly advanced civil rights and liberties in Canada. The Charter entitles citizens to certain rights such as same sex marriage, the legalization of abortion, as well as medical marijuana. Pierre Trudeau often pursued an independent path, it is not surprising that his son might also as witnessed with his desire to end marijuana prohibition in his country on the federal level.
This is arguably the most exciting thing happening in the cannabis industry at the moment and it is a huge undertaking. Canada is the first G7 nation to try to legalize marijuana on the federal level. G7 refers to the 7 member nations of this group that meet annually to discuss current world issues and economic policies. These are the 7 countries with the most advanced economies and make up 64% of the net global wealth. Canada was the 7th nation to join ultimately giving the group the G7 title .
So, what is spring bringing for recreational cannabis for our friends to the north?
While Americans anxiously await the swearing in of Senator Jeff Sessions as Attorney General to see what it will mean to our own burgeoning cannabis industry, Canadians on the other hand aren’t playing the hurry up and wait game.
Spring is fast approaching and Canadian’s are gearing up for what they believe will be a Multi-billion dollar business opportunity.
Investors are jumping in the market heavily anticipating a multi-billion dollar market as is evidenced in the stock prices of current medical cannabis companies. Investors from not only Canada but the United States and South America are already jumping in to make sure they are ready when everything goes into place..
Many businesses are taking steps to make sure they are at the forefront of the movement when it goes live. Companies like Aurora and Canopy Growth Corp. have already expanded their business into much larger facilities in order to accommodate the anticipated massive increase in demand.
Tokyo Smoke, a cannabis related lifestyle brand secured 3 million in Canadian dollars in order to set up partnerships with currently licensed medical marijuana growers in order to bring unique strains to the public. They also are looking to expand into the U.S.
Entrepreneurs eager to plant themselves in the cannabis industry aren’t even waiting for the regulations to be drafted let alone go into effect. Hundreds of retail shops have opened and begun selling in anticipation of the spring regulations. Of course, the authorities still believe it to be illegal to traffic marijuana. Many of these pop-up shops are being raided and closed. Authorities maintain that they can’t just allow a completely unregulated industry to continue. Many believe that with the coming legalizations this is a complete waste of budgetary monies since many of the citations won’t stick. Up until the time when the new rules go into effect they are doing everything they can to uphold the current law. But the shop owners won’t be deterred, many just open their doors the next day, believing it is their right to participate in commerce.
The Task Force on Cannabis Legalization and Regulation, the federal task force slated with creating guidelines for the new regulations, has already sent the government over 80 recommendations. Among the new recommendations were that the legal adult age to possess and purchase marijuana to be 18 years old, that adults should be able to order marijuana through mail order as well as from storefront operations, and that the provinces should be the ones to oversee distribution and retail sales.
Manitoba and Alberta are two provinces that are in favor of taking the rolling out of recreational cannabis laws seriously, they want to take it slow and make sure they have a firm grip on what the new recreational cannabis regulation will look like. Premier Brian Pallister of Manitoba is waiting for more cooperation from the federal government and doesn’t mind delaying the implementation of the new rules until all of the kinks are ironed out. Trudeau will put the new regulations on the table in the spring but these things don’t happen overnight. Legalizing cannabis on a national level brings with it some of the most complicated policy issues. Once adopted, the new regulations will need to be integrated into each province’s own rules and regulations. There will need to be new border patrol agreements for Canadians wanting to travel to and from the U.S. or a lot of Canadians are going to have to lie to border patrol about whether they have ever consumed the legal in their country substance. And of course those pesky National Treaties will have to be amended.
It will likely take another year before we see the final version of the regulations written and approved by legislation. Then there is implementation in each province. It could easily be 2-3 years before we get a true picture of what a national recreational cannabis market looks like. But that is a good thing. Canada will be the first industrialized nation (besides Uruguay) to end prohibition and they need to do it right.
What they are doing north of us and how they are doing is very important for us here in the U.S., and many other countries.
Canada will become the country that other countries watch to see how legalization is working on a national level. It will also be who other countries look to for guidance on how to go national. They will likely become the epicenter of medical research into the uses for cannabis since they will have federal support. For obvious reasons we are all looking to be witness to their success and learn from their failures. For all intents and purposes the eyes of the world are on Canada right now.
John Lennon, after meeting with former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau in the late 60’s, was quoted as saying that “if all politicians were like Pierre Trudeau, there would be world peace”. I wonder if Lennon would feel the same way about his son, the Prime Minister of today….