Canada expects to hold a historic vote on federal cannabis legalization today. The country’s Senate is currently debating Bill C-45, the Cannabis Act, and has scheduled a vote for sometime Thursday. If Senators adopt the measure, it would make Canada the first G7 nation to legalize marijuana.
Senators have been debating the legislation for six months. So far, they have approved more than 40 amendments to the bill. MPs in the House of Commons, who passed the original bill in 2017, will then get a chance to ratify the amendments. Once it receives approval there, the bill could receive Royal Assent and become law within days. However, a failure to approve the amendments in the House of Commons could delay the legislation for months.
Bill Could Be Boon for Canada’s Economy
Robert McIntyre, the chief financial officer of Salvation Botanicals, sees great opportunity for the Canadian economy with the bill. Salvation is a licensed cannabis business located on Vancouver Island, B.C. The company operates a cannabis testing laboratory and manufactures products including oils and tinctures. McIntyre told High Times that his firm is ready for recreational pot to come to Canada.
“It is incredibly exciting to be at the forefront of this historic legislation,” he said. “We have built capacity around supporting this new market and are looking forward to making a large impact.”
McIntyre also said that as the first major player in legal marijuana, Canada has a chance to secure a position in future international cannabis trade.
“Canada is leading the world in nationalized cannabis legislation, and that presents enormous opportunities for Canadian companies abroad,” he said.
Some See Flaws in Bill C-45
However, not everyone is happy with the Cannabis Act. McIntyre said the omission of popular marijuana products from the bill could stunt the growth of the legal industry while allowing illicit operators to maintain a toehold.
“The initial rollout is intended to cover oils at a maximum of 3%, capsules, and oral sprays. It is not intended for legislation to consider high-potency oils or edibles at this time—two of the larger portions of the ‘constitutionally protected grey market’ and certainly significant sectors of the more open state-based US market,” said McIntyre.
“The Government has advised that these will be rolled out within a year of legalization, but we feel the delay will heavily impact the success of the entire system. The system is intended to eliminate the grey market, but leaving high-potency and edibles for a later date has the likely effect of pushing the grey market underground, where testing and product safety may be non-existent,” he added.
U.S. Firms Also See Opportunity
Canadian companies aren’t the only ones that see potential in Canada’s cannabis future. Prime Harvest, LLC is a San Diego cannabis company with cultivation, manufacturing, and retail operations. The firm is currently finalizing a reverse-merger with ME Resource Corp. in Vancouver, B.C. through which it will gain a listing on the Canadian Stock Exchange and access to a new market. Chand Jagpal, Prime Harvest’s chief financial officer, said that Canada is on the leading edge of a dynamic marijuana revolution.
“The industry will continue to evolve. We are just at the tipping point of a global cannabis movement,” said Jagpal. “The Senate approval will further cement the importance of the cannabis industry, not just to the local Canadian economy, but as a global leading commodity.”
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