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Canada’s cannabis industry could encourage the U.S. to do better

Bethan Rose Jenkins, Cannabis News Writer/Editorial

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On Thursday, June 7, the Canadian Senate passed the Cannabis Act to legalize recreational cannabis. Global attention is now closely fixated on the North American country, as it embraces cannabis reform and gears up for a market that could potentially rival the U.S.

The buildup was long and intense, but finally, Canada’s cannabis industry has sprung into action.

On a separate note, America’s cannabis industry is doing very well indeed, with 30 states now having legalized medical cannabis and a further 10 legalizing recreational cannabis. However, the U.S. government has not yet legalized cannabis at the federal level.

So, until the day comes (and it probably will, considering the industry has already employed some 200,000 people) America ought to watch and learn. There’s a lot to be learned from Canada’s vigilant approach to cannabis legalization.

Don’t be afraid to push the boundaries

Canada might have legalized cannabis, but this move breaches multiple international drug policy treaties. The treaty forbids the legalization of illicit drugs for recreational purposes. Did Canada care? Nope. With the war on drugs clearly failing, Canada made a bold move by trying something different. If more states in the U.S. push for legalization in spite of the federal prohibition, America’s cannabis industry could skyrocket to new realms of success.

Take things slowly and proceed with caution

Patience is a virtue, as they say. In Canada’s case, it is likely to pay off. The tedious process of legalizing cannabis, (which Justin Trudeau pushed for since he was elected as the country’s prime minister back in 2015, allowed the government to carefully prepare a bill that covered absolutely everything necessary for the industry to thrive. With plenty of time and planning, Canada’s cannabis industry should be ready for anything that comes its way.

Allow states to make regulatory decisions

Not every Canadian province will hold the same views on cannabis. The same applies to the U.S. Canada’s Cannabis Act is unique in the sense that it allows provinces to make regulatory decisions. By following in Canada’s footsteps and integrating this approach, America can avoid potential over-regulation from the federal government.

Improve packaging rules

Last but not least, packaging. It’s a crucial aspect of any cannabis product and just as the U.S. knows, the rules are strict. Product packaging must be compliant to be sold legally in the marketplace and so, companies must adhere to the regulations on everything, from colors and font sizes to the product’s potency information. The downside? Lack of branding puts restrictions on cannabis industry advertising.

Canada’s packaging rules are equally as strict and if the U.S. cannabis industry wants to maximize its growth potential without being dominated by Canada’s cannabis industry, the U.S. must find a solution. An idea would be to organize events that showcase various products and their benefits/uses. Aside from giving companies a fair opportunity to compete, free-market principles like this will also educate people about cannabis’ medical potential.

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Canada’s cannabis industry could encourage the U.S. to do better