Canada just might be the next hot spot in North America for pot, as a Los Angeles Times report says Canadian officials are likely to legalize the use of recreational marijuana as early as this 2017.
This move is a big one, and will mean that marijuana can be sold at pharmacies and liquor stores. Canada has legalized medical marijuana since 2001. This new legislation will also mean that local growers and distributors can breathe a lot easier as they won’t have to worry about the risks of trading cannabis, such as being banned from opening bank accounts or partnering with big investment companies.
Canadian Health Minister Jane Philpott said in a UN General Assembly last April that the country would file the legislation in the coming spring and then regulate recreational marijuana. This would cover the entire Canada. In comparison, any given state in the USA can do the same, but the federal government still considers marijuana a Schedule 1 drug right up there with heroin and LSD.
In Canada, cannabis sales is at $150 million, in contrast to the massive $4.3 billion the drug generates in the USA.
As of now, only licensed marijuana producers can distribute medical marijuana to those who have doctor approval to use it, but that may also change in August with a federal court ruling that orders Health Canada to let patients grow their own cannabis plants.
This new could open doors for a big US market, as traders have become increasingly interested in the neighboring opportunities. For example, Privateer Holdings from Seattle, Washington became the first American company to establish a medical marijuana facility in Canada.
Last January, the Associated Press reported that after a year of experimenting in legal, taxed marijuana in Washington and Colorado, both states reported still competing with black market sales. Since marijuana was legalized in 2012 in Washington state, it has been reportedly struggling with illegal medical marijuana distributors and delivery services. Legal shops who are paying high taxes have some tough competition because of this.
Ohio, on the other hand, has just approved a bill that allows doctors to prescribe marijuana derivatives for medical treatment, making it the 25th US state to do so, following Missouri who had also approved a similar bill two months earlier.