What Canada’s Legalization of Cannabis Means to the United States

By Scott Mandell, President of Cannabistry Labs

Following Uruguay’s lead, Canada recently became the second country in the world to federally legalize adult-use cannabis. This measure will allow the country to capitalize on substantial economic opportunities, propelling it towards becoming the cannabis capital of the world. Meanwhile, just south, the United States struggles to find a balance between federal and state policies. Global spending on legal cannabis is expected to reach $63.5 billion by 2024 which will almost exclusively flow to Canada. This means the U.S. is leaving copious amounts of cash on the table until the day federal legislation classifies cannabis as a Schedule 1 drug.

Before the legalization of cannabis in Canada, anticipation alone created a financial boom not seen since the dot-com mania of the late 1990s. Canadian investors began plowing millions of dollars into cannabis companies, without having recording profits yet. And they are not alone, American companies are also jumping on the bandwagon. There is a new wave of American companies becoming publicly listed in Canada for valuations approaching those of their Canadian counterparts. The only chance the U.S. has is to slow and ultimately stop this trend is the legalization is adult-use cannabis.

There are a few areas of the economy that would benefit most from adult-use cannabis sales: trade, taxes and job growth. The categorization of marijuana as a Schedule I drug alienates the U.S. economy from a lucrative global trade market. Legalizing cannabis on a federal level would enable the U.S. to enter the worldwide market for the plant itself as well as products derived from its compounds. The U.S. could trade cannabis plants with its neighbors and NAFTA partners Mexico and Canada, in addition to countless other international markets where cannabis is medically legal.

In addition to the international revenue plant trading would generate for the U.S., with the legalization of cannabis on a federal level, the government could tax cannabis sales and profit from the plant. Colorado provides informative and promising statistics that reflect the potential for the U.S. as a whole. Since legalizing cannabis for adult-use, Colorado has generated more than $500 million in tax revenue. A perfect example is Pueblo County. In a landmark report out of the Colorado State University-Pueblo’s Institute of Cannabis Research, researchers found that a taxed and regulated cannabis industry contributed more than $58 million to the local economy, reports The Denver Post.

Additionally, New Frontier Data projects that if legalization were to occur in all 50 states today, there would be access of 654,000 jobs, and would increase to 1 million by 2025. ZipRecruiter chief economist Cathy Berrera says, “Year over year growth of job posts in the cannabis industry is outpacing both tech (254% growth) and healthcare (70%).” This is a direct result of the vast amount of jobs in the industry, such as growers, extraction technicians, harvesters, marketers and budtenders, to name a few. There is no shortage of opportunities in the industry whether you touch the plant or not.

Legal cannabis in Canada will be an economic experiment, but it seems it will be an experiment that has the potential to pay off in a big way. Adult-use cannabis will undoubtedly improve the country’s economy and would do the same for the U.S. The U.S. missed out on the opportunity to become the first G7 country to legalize cannabis and reap the benefits that will come with it, but it’s not too late. The fact is, Americans now support legalization at historically high rates. A CBS News survey found that 59 percent of Americans think cannabis should be legalized. At this point, it not a question of “if” but of “when.” And the good news is when it does occur, the U.S. will have the benefit of using Canada as a model for best practices, eliminating some trial and error.


Uruguay: Pharmacies Begin Selling Cannabis Over The Counter

URUGUAY: Select pharmacies began selling cannabis over the counter last week, as long-awaited regulations took effect on Wednesday.

Cannabis sales are limited only to those citizens who participate in the state’s marijuana registry. Foreign tourists are not permitted to purchase cannabis at this time.

Marijuana flowers are capped at a price of $1.30 a gram.

Federal officials initially approved legislation in 2013 lifting Uruguay’s criminal prohibition of the plant. Under the policy change, citizens may cultivate up to six plants per household, and engage in collective cultivation as part of membership clubs. Rules and regulations governing the distribution of marijuana for medical purposes are overseen by the Ministry of Health.

Uruguay: Medical Marijuana May Cost More Than Recreational Pot

URUGUAY:  As this country’s remarkable legal marijuana experiment continues to unfold, an unexpected detail has emerged: It could cost more for cancer patients to buy weed for pain relief than for plain old stoners getting high just for fun.

Citing Uruguay’s drug czar Julio Calzada, El Observador newspaper reported on Feb. 6 that medical marijuana will cost more than recreational weed.

A National Drug Council spokesman confirmed on Wednesday that cannabis grown in Uruguay for medicinal uses — like treating pain and nausea caused by chemotherapy, or helping boost appetites for HIV/AIDS patients — will cost more than recreational pot.

The reason: Medical marijuana will be grown separately from the recreational type, by different companies. It will likely have higher levels of tetrahydrocannabinol or THC, the plant’s chemical compound that makes users high, and will be grown under stricter controls than pot grown purely for fun.


Uruguay’s Year In Marijuana: 3 Successes, 3 Burning Questions

URUGUAY:  It’s been just over a year since Uruguay‘s President Jose Mujica signed a law creating the world’s first nationalized market for the cultivation, sale and consumption of marijuana.

The implementation of this historic law was part of a landmark year for cannabis. Recreational pot stores opened in Colorado and Washington State, while three other US states voted to approve sweeping pro-marijuana legislation. And back in South America, a middle-age housewife in Chile received possibly the region’s first legal medical marijuana prescription.

But along with the successes of Uruguay’s weed experiment are some notable hold-ups.

For starters, a year into the new paradigm, it’s still impossible to buy marijuana legally here. To date, the government still hasn’t chosen the companies that will grow its cannabis. A new president, taking office in March, who formerly has been skeptical of marijuana use will inherit much of the hard work of implementing the law.

Uruguay Opens Its First Marijuana Fair A Year After Legalization

URUGUAY:  Uruguay’s first “marijuana fair“, dubbed “Expocannabis” was opened on Sunday in Montevideo, a year after the growing and sale of the drug was legalized in this conuntry.

The legalization was aimed for producers and users to exchange information about the medicinal, therapeutic and industrial possibilities of pot.

Workshops, audiovisual projections, information stands, product sales and conferences with national and international experts are on the agenda of the fair.

Over the next two days, participants hope they can demystify cannabis by informing the public of its beneficial and harmful effects.


Uruguay Pushes Back Start Of Marijuana Sale In Pharmacies

URUGUAY:  Uruguay could start selling marijuana in pharmacies in March, the head of the National Drugs Board said on Wednesday, although the government had initially been aiming for year-end.

The South American country is the world’s first to permit the cultivation, distribution and use of marijuana, aiming to wrest control of the trade from drug gangs while at the same regulating and even taxing its consumption.

But a variety of hurdles are preventing the government from making its deadlines in implementing the measures passed into law last December. Even the plan to start selling marijuana in March, when President Jose Mujica leaves office, looks ambitious as the government is still tendering cultivation licenses.

“It will be at the end of this term, the start of the next,” Julio Calzada, the secretary general of the National Drugs Board, told reporters on the sidelines of a conference.

Uruguayans Chose New President In Tight Contest

URUGUAY:  Uruguayans were choosing a new president Sunday in a contest that could also determine the future of the country’s pioneering marijuana law.

Outgoing President Jose Mujica led Uruguay through economic prosperity and gained worldwide acclaim for social reforms such as the legalization of marijuana and gay marriage. His left-leaning Broad Front coalition leads in the election to replace him, but victory in the first round is far from certain.

Polls suggest that Broad Front candidate Tabare Vazquez, 74, will fall short of the absolute majority, forcing a runoff next month. His main challenger is center-right National Party candidate Luis Alberto Lacalle Pou, the son of a former president.

If elected, Lacalle Pou, 41, promises to tackle rising crime, improve education and modify the law that Mujica spearheaded to create the world’s first national marketplace for legal marijuana. Although he would still allow consumers to grow the plants at home for personal use, he would end the government’s role in the production and sales of pot.



Uruguay’s Roll-Out Of Marijuana Experiment Faces Election Risk

URUGUAY:  Uruguay is struggling to roll out the commercial production and sale of marijuana and its ground-breaking experiment could be dropped or watered down if an opposition candidate wins this month’s presidential election.

The South American country is the world’s first to permit the cultivation, distribution and use of marijuana, aiming to wrest control of the trade from drug gangs while at the same regulating and even taxing its consumption.

The reform is being followed closely across Latin America where the legalization or decriminalization of some narcotics is increasingly viewed as a better way to end the violence spawned by drug trafficking than the U.S.-led “war on drugs”.

But first Uruguay needs to work out how to ensure criminal gangs do not finance producers, how to regulate the supply and quality of locally produced marijuana, and how to satisfy neighboring states that legally grown dope will not be sold illegally on their streets.


Legal, Regulated Cannabis In Uruguay (Almost) Ready For Its Close-Up

URUGUAY:  There’s a revolution happening in the streets of this sleepy South American capital — one full of controversial land mines, landmark precedents and intense international heat.

It’s the kind of uprising you can smell, and it’s a familiar scent in Colorado.

Marijuana is on the lips and minds of many Uruguayans. While the possession of cannabis has been federally legal here since 1974,the government’s recent effort to regulate the sale of recreational marijuana has thrust the quiet, modest country of 3.3 million into the international limelight.

Uruguay will be the only country in the world with legal, regulated recreational marijuana sales, and President José Mujica — who donates 80 to 90 percent of his salary to the poor and opts to live at his semirural flower farm instead of the opulent, more traditional presidential palace — is at the center of the lively national conversation.


Uruguayans Can Now Register To Grow Marijuana At Home

URUGUAY:  People in Uruguay who want to grow their own marijuana at home were able to register to do so Wednesday as the government launched the latest phase in its first-of-its-kind legalization program.

Under a law that went into effect in May, citizens of Uruguay or legal residents who are at least 18 can grow marijuana for personal use if they register. There is a limit of six female plants, with an annual harvest of up to 480 grams.

Few people appeared to be rushing to register with the government on the first day. Juan Vaz, a well-known cannabis activist, said he registered and found the process easy but can understand why some might be reluctant.

“There are some people who might feel persecuted,” Vaz said. “For many years, they grew plants in secret and it’s hard to break from that way of thinking.”