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Prime Minister Trudeau: Time To “Catch Up” With The Cannabis Industry

By Hazel Norman

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Canada remains the only country on earth where anyone of legal age can make a legal adult-use cannabis purchase regardless of residency status. The only country to legalize cannabis for adult use prior to Canada doing so in 2018 was Uruguay back in 2013.

Unlike in Canada, Uruguay limits adult-use sales to residents only. Malta is the only other country on the planet right now that has also passed an adult-use legalization measure, however, the only way to legally purchase cannabis in Malta will be via licensed non-profit cannabis clubs, and no licenses seem to have been issued thus far. Malta started accepting applications for clubs late last month.

Until legal sales to non-residents become a reality elsewhere, Canada will continue to be in a league of its own. Canada’s legalization model and related policies are obviously not perfect, although, they are still exponentially better than prohibition.

The industry has succeeded by many measures despite it operating on a playing field that is far from level compared to other legal industries of its size in Canada. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made comments recently that suggest a leveling of the playing field may be on the horizon. Per excerpts from initial reporting by StratCann:

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau acknowledged the need for the government to “catch up” with the cannabis industry’s concerns around issues like high taxation in a recent public event.

In his response, Trudeau first brought up the government’s historical public-health focussed messaging around legaization, but noted that now that the legal system is established, the government has a need to take a look at ensuring those businesses who “stepped up” in this new industry can survive.

“Now that we’ve got the public health and safety stuff out of the way, or on the way, I think you’re absolutely right that we should absolutely take a much closer look at ‘okay, what do we do then to make sure that this is a beneficial industry?’

As we previously reported, the legal cannabis industry in Canada had created roughly 151,000 jobs as of February 2022. Additionally, the emerging legal cannabis industry is responsible for generating over $15 billion since legal adult-use sales launched in late 2018.

Deloitte estimates that the legal cannabis industry in Canada has contributed over $43.5 billion to the nation’s GDP since the start of legalization. Cannabis companies have directly invested roughly $4.4 billion into Canada’s economy, with the remaining boost to GDP coming from “indirect” economic contributions, and “induced” contributions according to Deloitte.

As impressive as those statistics are, they come from an era in which Canada’s cannabis industry faced needless hurdles, many of which are still in place today. Hopefully Prime Minster Trudeau puts actions behind his recent words and does everything in his power to help his nation’s emerging cannabis industry reach its full potential.

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