Canada has legalized recreational cannabis use nationwide, becoming the second country after Uruguay to do so, and the first among the members of the G-20 group.
How Canada continues after this brave step and whether it turns out to be abreakthrough or a breakdown will surely affect the future of the cannabis industry in the U.S. and the world as a whole.
Conflict with International Treaties and Their War on Drugs
The first conflict of interest is that Canada’s move is a direct violation of the international drug treaties and their War on Drugs which explicitly ban cannabis legalization.
Since the U.S. is considered to be at the forefront of these treaties, and taking into account that nine of its states allow the recreational use of cannabis, it seems that the U.S. wants to have it both ways. Canada, however, doesn’t.
“Canada’s progress will galvanize support for drug policy reforms around the world,” says Hannah Hetzer, Senior International Policy Manager for the Drug Policy Alliance.
The only reason the U.S. isn’t in violation of the treaties is because cannabis is still federally illegal.Canada’s bold decision is likely to spur its southern neighbor to take a clearer stance – is cannabis legal or illegal?The answer will probably depend on how Canada handles this major change and its practical implications.
Considering the bigger picture, Canada’s move epitomizes the fact that such treaties need to be revisited, as they are driven by outdated, closed-minded views which align cannabis with drugs altogether, and “Drugs are bad, M’kay?”
Canada’s Preparation and Best Practices
It’s not as if this legalization happened overnight. Health Canada has been preparing diligently for this day, and given how huge Canada’s cannabis market already is – one survey finds that Canadians spend more money on cannabis than on wine – it’s likely that this decision will turn out to be justified.
“We expect Canada will serve as a proxy for best practices in the U.S. (and elsewhere), particularly in large scale cultivation,” says Matt Karnes from GreenWave advisors. “With the onset of full legalization in October, we expect a surge in new public company filings that should facilitate a greater level of transparency from required financial disclosures and enable investors to better assess industry fundamentals.”
Since a small strip of the Detroit metro area overlaps with Canada, it’s likely that the effects of this legalization will be the most tangible there. And being that Michigan might be on the verge of legalization already, we soon might witness the 10thU.S. state with legalized recreational cannabis.
Perhaps the best thing that may come out of this legalization is the doors it could open for medical research. If everything goes well, the U.S. and the rest of the world will see that cannabis hasn’t turned Canada from a leading nation into a destitute, depraved country.
This legalization should push the stigma that follows cannabis a few steps closer to oblivion. And once it fades away, the opportunities for research of cannabis’s medical properties would shine on into infinity.