David Feldman

Canada Announces Plan for Full Legalization of Cannabis

Last week, in a both exciting and sobering press release, Canada announced a plan to fully “legalize, strictly regulate and restrict access” to cannabis in the Great White North. The release starts bluntly: “The current approach to cannabis does not work.”

The government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau clearly favors both medical and recreational cannabis legalization. They retain strong concerns, however, about the ease with which teenagers are able to obtain marijuana, as well as alcohol and drug-impaired driving. Thus, their new plan, dubbed the Cannabis Act, will strengthen penalties for impaired driving and selling marijuana to minors.

The hope, as indicated in the press release, is to work with the legislature to implement full cannabis legalization by July 2018. A surprising number of great things were invented or developed in Canada: peanut butter, the egg carton, IMAX, the walkie-talkie, the baggage tag and even insulin. Maybe we can follow the lead of our friends to the North and move towards removal of federal restrictions in the US as well, because doing so would eliminate a good deal of confusion regarding applicable federal and state laws, which has inhibited the US cannabis industry.   US cannabis industry participants are certainly urged to retain counsel with expertise in navigating the complex regulatory structure here.