Move over 420, 1017 is about to take over. On Wednesday, both medical and adult use cannabis will be legal for adults in Canada. The Cannabis Act that was passed in June created a legal cannabis program allowing each province in the country to establish its own cannabis marketplace. Canada is the first G-7 to legalize cannabis in both forms at a national level.
October 17 was the day that was set for the first sales of adult use or recreational cannabis. The dispensaries won’t be like the ones in the U.S. since the packaging is decidedly plain, but adults will be able to purchase up to 30 grams of cannabis.
“Canada is setting a strong example of how to end marijuana prohibition at the national level and replace it with a system of regulated production and sales that is largely governed at the local level,” said Steve Hawkins, executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project. “The U.S. and other countries grappling with the complexities of such a significant policy shift will have an excellent opportunity to learn from the Canadian experience.”
According to a report from Deloitte, the total cannabis market in Canada is expected to generate up to $7.17 billion in total sales in 2019. Deloitte also noted that $4.34 billion would be specifically legal sales. Consumers are expected to begin leaving the illicit sales channels and migrating to legal outlets by as much as 35%.
Hawkins added, “The Canadian model is rather similar to what many envision for the U.S., and in many ways, it mirrors what is happening here, as states have taken the lead in regulating commercial cannabis activity. The big difference—and it is a critical difference—is the blessing provincial governments have received from their federal government.”
While many think Canada has been leading the charge, it was actually Uruguay who first legalized adult use cannabis. That country passed legislation was signed into law in December 2013 but it wasn’t until July 2017 that some pharmacies began selling the product. Various European countries have legalized medical marijuana and Amsterdam has allowed limited adult use cannabis consumption for years.
“As just the second country and the first G7 nation to end marijuana prohibition, Canada has positioned itself as a global leader for cannabis business and development. As the U.S. continues to face federal roadblocks to cannabis-related medical research, Canada could very well become the world leader in discovering new cannabis-based medicines,” Hawkins added. “Canada is going to generate significant revenue, create all sorts of jobs and business opportunities, and become the world leader for cannabis-related research and development. Hopefully, Congress will take notice quickly and that competitive American spirit will kick in sooner rather than later.”