North America Inches Closer to Cannabis Legalization

The prospect of legalized cannabis in North America just got a little bit brighter. On June 7, 2018, the Senate voted to approve Bill C-45, a measure legalizing recreational cannabis in Canada. The measure will now go to the House of Commons for a final vote.

If approved, the potential financial effect could be tremendous. A recent report released by Stifel Financial estimated “a total medical market opportunity of $1.3 billion CAD and a recreational opportunity of $8 billion CAD (retail sales).” Additionally, the report found that the wholesale market opportunity for licensed producers could reach as high as $5 billion CAD.

With the majority of the House controlled by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Party, which successfully campaigned on cannabis legalization in 2015, the odds of Bill C-45 passing are quite high. However several amendments to the measure made by the Senate, such as allowing provinces to ban personal cultivation, could slow down the legislative process.

Speaking with The Toronto Star, Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor said that once passed, it would take upwards of two to three months to implement the new law.

In the United States, President Donald Trump stated that he would most likely support a bipartisan bill, introduced by Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner, that would essentially end the federal war on cannabis.

“I support Sen. Gardner. I know exactly what he’s doing; we’re looking at it. But I probably will end up supporting that, yes,” Trump told reporters, as quoted by NPR.

Under the proposed legislation, the Controlled Substances Act would be amended to allow states to write their own cannabis laws without fear of federal interference. The apparent support offered by President Trump breaks with the position of his Attorney General, Jeff Session, who has been an ardent opponent of legalized cannabis and most recently rescinded the long-standing Cole Memo; which was put in place by then-President Barack Obama.

William Sumner

William Sumner

William Sumner is a freelance writer specializing in the legal cannabis industry. You can follow William on Twitter @W_Sumner or on Medium.


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