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Will Canada Delay Cannabis Legalization…Again?

Canada Flag Cannabis

Every state in the U.S. that has legalized cannabis has had its ups and downs, so we shouldn’t expect Canada to be any different as it works on implementing regulations that will make the nation the very first to legalize cannabis commerce for all adults within its borders. The uncertainty of when the federal government will finally allow sales to start must be maddening for industry participants, but maybe the extra time will convince some provinces to retract some initial overly restrictive regulations:

The National Post reported on the potential delay of legalization:

Asked about the possibility of delaying the bill on Wednesday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said only that the government is focused on legalizing marijuana because “the current system hurts Canadians.”

“Legalization is not an event, it’s a process,” he said. “And that process will continue.”

The Trudeau government was hoping to legalize recreational use of cannabis by July, but has already indicated that deadline would be pushed back by several weeks to give provincial governments and police authorities time to prepare for the new law.

Unfortunately, as cannabis policy attorney Kirk Tousaw noted, a delay in legalization will lead to more unnecessary and harmful arrests. If the federal government does delay legalization, a compromise could be to legalize possession and use or just start allowing medical dispensaries to sell to all adults while the full rules get figured out, two things that Oregon did when rolling out legalization.

Hopefully, Canada can find a good path forward that will continue its path to finally end the failed and harmful policy of cannabis prohibition, and harness the economic potential of the cannabis industry. One advantage that Canadian companies have had over those in the United States and other countries has been the fact that Canada had legalized federally. If Canada delays too long, the Great White North may just have some company if the political momentum for legalization continues at its blistering pace in the United States.

I look forward to learning more from great advocates like Kirk Tousaw, Robert Laurie, and Jamie Shaw at the upcoming International Cannabis Business Conference in Vancouver this June 24th and 25th, not to mention see Henry Rollins deliver the keynote address. It will be a great time to compare notes and network with some of the best cannabis activists, entrepreneurs, and investors in North America, and around the globe.

International Cannabis Business Conference, Jamie Shaw, Justin Trudeau, Kirk Tousaw, Robert Laurie