As you may have heard, the Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau was recently elected in Canada as their new Prime Minister. But what does this mean for the cannabis industry?
Canada’s previous Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, was extremely anti-cannabis and believes that “marijuana is an ‘infinitely’ more harmful substance than tobacco,” according to the Huffington Post. He claimed his reasoning was based on science, but quickly failed to give any scientific explanation.
Medical marijuana is currently legal in Canada, but that was as far as the conservative Prime Minister was willing to go. Legalization was out of the question.
Newly elected Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has a different view, he is very pro-cannabis. This is a huge win for the cannabis and hemp industry in Canada, and will reverberate throughout North America. Trudeau ran on a campaign that promised to legalize cannabis as soon as possible.
The Liberal Party’s platform states it wants to “legalize, regulate, and restrict access to marijuana.” It goes on to explain how the drug war leads to too many criminal records and is a heavy burden on the justice system. The platform gives readers the ability to rate the policy which received a 4.62 out of 5 by over 20,000 readers which may account for some of the unusually large turnout for this election.
The party wants to create task forces to work with experts in public health, substance abuse, and law enforcement to create an appropriate system for controlling cannabis sales and distribution. They also aim to create a brand new system for sales and distribution that will be strict and include appropriate federal and provincial taxes. This will hopefully lead to strong and comprehensive cannabis laws, although it will likely still take a few years to iron out the details.
If Trudeau is able to fully legalize cannabis, Canada would become the first country in North America to do so. This will propel Canada to the top of how legalization is viewed on the continent.
That may in turn help boost the American legislative efforts by creating more competition to give the current industry higher standards. Tom Angell of Marijuana Majority stated, “it’s not only good news for Canadians who will be able to purchase marijuana from legal and regulated storefronts instead of being treated like criminals. It’s also likely to give reform efforts in the US a bit of a boost --- not that we really needed it, but a little friendly competition is always a good motivator.” If legalization works and works well in Canada, the United States Federal Government might start to look at cannabis legalization with less reserve and see the incredible benefits of legalizing the herb.
Canadian stocks in the cannabis industry were a hot commodity after the election and one cannabis stock shot up by 20 percent on the open. The cannabis industry in Canada is expected to become a $1 billion industry by 2020, but with the looming legalization, it has the potential to reach $7 billion. Just as we have seen in American states that have legalized recreational use, this will boost Canada’s economy greatly, which currently suffers from low oil prices and other economic stresses.
The major hurdle of getting Prime Minister Justin Trudeau elected has been surpassed, but there is still a lot to see from Canada in regard to legalization. Task forces need to be created, information gathered, and legislation created. But with a pro-cannabis government now in power in the northernmost American country, the future looks bright indeed.