After Canada le­gal­izes pot, in­dus­try eyes rest of world

The Myanmar Times - Weekend - - World -

CAM Bat­t­ley is a top ex­ec­u­tive at one of Canada’s big­gest mar­i­juana com­pa­nies, but he isn’t stick­ing around to sa­vor the coun­try’s his­toric pot le­gal­iza­tion.

He’s off to Ger­many on Fri­day and Aus­tralia next week — a sign of what a leader Canada has be­come in the global pot in­dus­try, and of the re­ver­ber­a­tions its de­ci­sion to le­gal­ize could have in­ter­na­tion­ally.

“It’s a spe­cial mo­ment, not just for Canada, but for the world be­cause my strong con­vic­tion is that the rest of the world will fol­low suit,” said Bat­t­ley, chief cor­po­rate of­fi­cer at Aurora Cannabis. “We’re not known as wild and crazy. We’re known for good pub­lic pol­icy and I think they will fol­low our lead.”

Bat­t­ley will at­tend an in­vestor con­fer­ence in Ger­many and then head to Aus­tralia, which le­gal­ized med­i­cal mar­i­juana in 2016. He’ll meet with a cor­po­rate busi­ness part­ner and talk with pol­i­cy­mak­ers in Syd­ney and Mel­bourne.

Bat­t­ley’s itin­er­ary is in­dica­tive of the in­ter­na­tion­al­iza­tion of the mar­i­juana in­dus­try. And with na­tional le­gal­iza­tion tak­ing ef­fect Wed­nes­day, Canada has emerged as the world leader. It’s the sec­ond na­tion — and by far the largest — with coun­try­wide le­gal­iza­tion of so-called re­cre­ational pot.

Its de­lib­er­ate ap­proach, which took more than two years of plan­ning, al­lows prov­inces to shape their own laws within a fed­eral frame­work, in­clud­ing set­ting the min­i­mum age and de­cid­ing whether to dis­trib­ute through state-run or pri­vate re­tail out­lets.

That of­fers other coun­tries a model some­where be­tween the more strictly reg­u­lated sys­tem in Uruguay, the only other coun­try with le­gal sales, and the more com­mer­cial ver­sion in some of the nine US states that have ap­proved re­cre­ational mar­i­juana.

Canada’s fed­eral ap­proval has given its in­dus­try a huge ad­van­tage over its Amer­i­can coun­ter­part, in­clud­ing un­fet­tered ac­cess to bank­ing and bil­lions of dol­lars in in­vest­ment. Cana­di­ans can even or­der mar­i­juana on­line and have weed de­liv­ered by mail to their door.

That’s all made for some envy among Amer­i­can cannabis en­trepreneurs, in­clud­ing Derek Peter­son, the chief ex­ec­u­tive of Cal­i­for­nia-based mar­i­juana pro­ducer Terra Tech. Peter­son took out a full page ad in the Wall Street Jour­nal this week urg­ing Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump to help ease pro­hi­bi­tion and elim­i­nate hur­dles for the U.S. pot in­dus­try be­fore Canada leaves it even far­ther be­hind.

Some in the US. Con­gress have also taken no­tice, press­ing for the fed­eral gov­ern­ment to get out of the way of states that want to le­gal­ize, but it re­mains un­clear what weight Canada’s le­gal­iza­tion might carry south of the bor­der.

It might have a more im­me­di­ate ef­fect in coun­tries like New Zealand, where the gov­ern­ment has promised a le­gal­iza­tion ref­er­en­dum by 2020, said John Walsh, of the ad­vo­cacy group Wash­ing­ton Of­fice on Latin Amer­ica. Mex­ico, the Nether­lands and Italy are among other na­tions that have been mulling le­gal­iza­tion. To the sur­prise of many fa­mil­iar with Am­s­ter­dam’s mar­i­juana cafes, Hol­land has only very lim­ited le­gal­iza­tion.

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