The timing of the International Cannabis Business Conference, where top industry participants from around the globe converge upon Vancouver this June 24th-25th, couldn’t be much better as the Canadian Senate is expected to pass legalization by Friday, potentially making the ICBC the first post-legalization conference in Canada (just a little Royal Assent is needed after parliamentary approval). After the Cannabis Act (C-45) has been passed back and forth a bit like a political football between the Senate and the House of Commons, it appears that federal legislators are finally ready to honor the will of the voters that elected Justin Trudeau and the Liberal Party.
Canada firmly established itself as the global reform movement leader when the nation legalized medicinal use federally in 2001. The progressive medical law allowed Canada to become the global industry leader as Canadian companies became the preferred suppliers of medical programs in nations like Germany. Canadian businesses have also been able to flex their financial muscle in the United States, as corporations like Canopy Growth get listed on the New York Stock Exchange while their American counterparts are barred, sometimes looking north for reverse mergers that can give them access to capital markets in the Great White North.
Now, Canada is about to take another huge step forward, becoming the first nation to truly legalize cannabis across its borders. While some may tout Uruguay as the first nation to legalize, I personally would give the nod to Canada, as Uruguay still prohibits selling marijuana to foreigners.
It cannot be understated the importance of Canada’s upcoming legalization law and the impact it will have on the global movement to end the failed war on cannabis. Barrister and advocate, Kirk Tousaw, who has helped shape Canadian cannabis policy through his advocacy, told me, “This is an historic moment not just for Canada, but for the world.”
Much will be publicized about the jobs created and revenue generated by the Canadian cannabis industry. Analysts expect cannabis to rival the economic impact of wine, and we certainly know that the financial benefits will be vast. It is great news that employment opportunities will open up across the nation and we’ll even see creative artisans bring their skillset to the industry as various food and beverage concoctions will delight consumers and open up niche markets that often fly under the radar.
This is certainly an exciting time for the cannabis community. If you are in the cannabis industry, or are thinking of joining, you should certainly attend the Vancouver ICBC (get your tickets before they sell out!), as there are financial openings to be seized upon and now is the time to learn the latest and network with top entrepreneurs, employers, investors, and advocates. However, the most important aspect of the upcoming legalization law is that cannabis arrests will plummet, not only in Canada, but soon across the globe, as other nations see the resources saved and the money generated from regulated cannabis commerce.
All eyes will be on Canada, but it is clear that we are ending cannabis prohibition step by step, and eventually nation by nation. And Canadians are leading the way.