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Cannabis Legalization in Canada has Global Implications

The historic vote by the Canadian Senate to pass the Cannabis Act (C-45) yesterday, setting up Canada to become the first G7 nation to legalize cannabis and the first nation to end prohibition for all adults within its borders, energized reform activists around the world. The Canadian cannabis community will now wait 8 to 12 weeks as regulations are implemented across its provinces while advocates elsehwere are given more ammunition to end the war on cannabis within their own nations. The economic impact of legalization for citizens of the Great White North will be great, and the global implications will be vast.

We know that Canadian citizens are about to enjoy more freedom, jobs, and revenue, as illicit cannabis sales decrease and regulated cannabis commerce becomes mainstream like beer, wine, and spirits. As other nations see Canada enjoy economic and social benefits, plans will be made by many officials to follow in the footsteps of Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Party that made cannabis legalization a campaign promise.

Canada’s legalization law has already influenced politics across the pond as former Conservative Party leader William Hague has called for legalization and Britsh citizens are putting more political pressure on Prime Minister Theresa May. The Guardian reported:

William Hague, the former leader of the Conservative party, has urged Theresa May to legalise cannabis, saying the UK’s drug policy is “inappropriate, ineffective and utterly out of date” and that the “battle is effectively over”.

Lord Hague said issuing orders to the police to stop people smoking cannabis were “about as up to date and relevant as asking the army to recover the empire”.

While Prime Minister May is rebuffing calls to end prohibition now, we’re likely to see opinions change rather quickly among British officials and citizens as reports of Canada’s successes make global news. In the United States, we’ve already seen the Democratic Party move very much in line with Canada’s Liberal Party, and most major 2020 presidential candidates have embraced legalization. Progress begets progress, and as German Lopez notes in Vox, Canada will be providing a blueprint for how other countries can navigate international law:

If Canada pulls this off, it could provide a model for other countries to relax their drug laws — and particularly their marijuana laws — without violating international treaty obligations or, at the very least, without getting punished for disobeying the treaties.

Such a move would come at a very crucial time in international drug policy: After the UN’s special session on drugs in 2016, drug policy reformers are putting more pressure to reform the global drug control regime. Canadian legalization gives these reformers an opening by showing that if the treaties aren’t changed, they may soon be rendered meaningless as countries move ahead with their own reforms anyway — even if it puts them in violation of international drug law. And that could open up the rest of the world to legalizing pot.

It’s not just, then, that Canada is changing its own drug laws. Canada’s steps — from its rebuke of international drug treaties to how it will regulate cannabis — could affect the future of marijuana policy worldwide.

A sincere thanks to Justin Trudeau, the governing Liberal Party, and, most importantly, to the Canadian activists that have been fighting to end the failed, harmful, classist, and racist war on cannabis for decades. The election of Trudeau inspired advocates around the globe and the historic passage of the Cannabis Act has just added more fuel to the international fight for freedom. There will be many more political battles as regulations will need to be changed, but it’s okay to take a moment to celebrate a major victory that will reverberate around the world.

Learn what to expect over the next 8 to 12 weeks in Canada and beyond at the International Cannabis Business Conference in Vancouver this June 24th-25th. This is the perfect time to hear from experts in the industry and network with top employers, entrepreneurs, investors, and activists. Get your tickets before they sell out!

Cannabis Act, Justin Trudeau, Liberal Party, Theresa May, William Hague