Canada’s legalized marijuana stores opened today for the first time. Canada is now the first and only nation in the developed world to legalize cannabis, joining only Uruguay which legalized in 2013. The Canadian Senate voted to legalize marijuana back in June. Canadians above the legal age of 18 will be able to buy from privately owned stores and directly from federally licensed producers where stores are unavailable. Toronto Police have even instructed residents to not call them with marijuana-related complaints, saying on twitter, “Cannabis is no longer illegal…Do not call police for this.”
We work with a number of clients involved with Canadian investors interested in marijuana south of their border, which makes sense given the sheer size of the American economy. You can expect the reverse to happen more as well. More Americans will seek to profit from the world’s tenth largest economy and a country with over 37 million people.
As mentioned in one of our previous posts, Canada’s vote probably breaks international treaty obligations, but its leaders don’t seem too fazed by it. And who can blame them? There’s been no consequences for Canada’s act thus far. There are simply more serious things the world has to deal with. If anything, Canada (and Uruguay) will likely be the first of many. The Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs will either need to be reformed, dismantled, or simply ignored.
As Canada steps into the future, reform at the national level in the United States continues to languish. There’s still no current movement on the 2018 Farm Bill and only a single cannabis-derived drug approved by the FDA.
This has been years in the making since Justin Trudeau ran for Prime Minister in 2015 with cannabis legalization as one of his party’s campaign promises. But it is a remarkable development nonetheless, and we here at Cultiva Law commend the progress made by our northern neighbors.