It’s been a positive year for cannabis in North America.
US states offering medicinal cannabis are no longer in the minority, while our neighbors up north recently became the first G-7 nation to federally legalize adult-use cannabis.
In the southern part of the continent Andres Lopez Obrador is looking to end the drug-war while Jamaican officials continue to push for more scientific and medicinal research.
While plenty of work is left to be done, the continued progress is an encouraging sign for all those invested in the industry.
Canada: setting the tone
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau followed through on a campaign promise he made in 2015.
Come October 17th, all Canadians over the age of 21 will have access to cannabis. With the recent passing of Bill C-45, it makes the nation the first-ever G-7 ally to federally legalize the drug.
Sales in 2018 are expected to grow over 50% compared to the previous year, helping fuel a domestic market currently valued at $1.3 billion. Experts believe the market could exponentially grow thanks to recent legislation, predicting a value of $6 billion by 2025.
US: changes in surprising places
Conservative states with long histories of anti-cannabis policies have begun to change their tune. Oklahoma recently approved a regulated cannabis market while the Republican Party of Texas publicly stated their support for making cannabis more readily available for all Texans.
Even longtime cannabis-critic and former Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner is on board, joining the advisory board for a major US cannabis cultivator. Popular representatives like Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Chuck Schumer continue to introduce new policies that are beginning to gain forward momentum.
With all the recent news, it’s no surprise that the US is a leader in the current market, gathering a total revenue of $6.6 billion in 2017, with an estimated total demand expected to reach $55 billion by the end of 2018.
Mexico: ending the drug war
The Mexican government has been fighting a war with drug traffickers for the past decade, with little results to show for it.
Drug cartels are annually racking in between $19 billion & $29 billion from drug sales in the US. Leaving the new president-elect open to more creative solutions. “I will not rule out any option,” said Obrador at a recent debate.
One of those options is based around cannabis, a drug that cartels continue to push.
Interior Secretary Olga Sanchez Cordero believes cannabis could help boost the economy while significantly depleting a major revenue source for local cartels.
The former Supreme Court official stated part of her early focus will be geared towards pushing cannabis legislation onto her new president. “We will seek decriminalization of marijuana for recreational use,” said Cordero, adding “Canada already decriminalized, and several states of the US. What are we thinking? We’re going to try and move forward.”
What it all means
With Canada’s new legislation, the US continuing its march forward, and fresh-blood integrated into the Mexican government, cannabis will soon become more readily available for millions of people living within North America.
However, benefits of adult-use cannabis legislation do not just serve consumers and job-seekers. Adult-use laws are associated with lower opioid prescribing rates in the face of a national opioid crisis, and many ancillary benefits have been felt throughout communities with the increased tax revenue.
Progress in cannabis laws project a bright future for citizens, consumers, investors, and patients alike.