Canada Issues New Medical Marijuana Laws to Encourage Booming Pot Industry

marijuana Canada
Political Health

marijuana CanadaIn the U.S., we have a patchwork system of laws when it comes to marijuana—both recreational and medicinal. In Canada, the laws blanket the country, enveloping everyone – no matter the province—under the same regulations. For companies licensed to grow and supply medical marijuana, this uniformity has translated into millions of dollars from eager investors, investors in such high numbers that the companies are having to turn some of them away.

According to Market Watch, the Canadian government passed new laws this month regarding production and distribution—allowing for any licensed company to grow and ship their product to patients. The laws also banned patients from growing their own medicine. Unlike in the U.S., these new laws apply throughout Canada, leaving businesses confident that their trade won’t risk being legal in one area and illegal in another.

So far, 12 companies have been grated licensed by Health Canada, the agency overseeing the program. Just a year ago, companies like this couldn’t find investors, but now they are having to turn some away.

One of those companies, Tweed Inc., is setting up its growing operations in a former Hershey’s chocolate factory, right across from a police station in Ottawa. They were the first marijuana company to list its shares on the Toronto Stock Exchange’s Venture Exchange.

“There’s a whole lot of people who think the framework in Canada is better aligned for a real growth sector, as opposed to south of the border,” said Tweed’s chairman Bruce Linton referring to the mix of laws in the U.S.

Read: Legalize Marijuana? Benefits Ignored by Government

In the U.S., things are far less certain. Despite medical marijuana being legal in 20 states and recreational pot in two, the federal government still considers marijuana to be a Schedule I substance, and therefore illegal. Further, marijuana companies, operating legally in some states, can’t even use banks for fear of breaking federal laws.

In Canada, however, that money flows freely.

“Canada is the only place where we actually touch the product,” says Brendan Kennedy, co-founder of Privateer Holdings, an investment firm in Seattle that puts money solely into marijuana businesses. Privateer Holdings recently invested $15 million in a Canadian marijuana growing company Lafitte Ventures Ltd.

 “There’s no disparity between federal and provincial law in Canada. That was extremely appealing to us. You would never invest that amount of capital in a facility in the U.S.,” explains Kennedy.

While Canadian officials say recreational marijuana is not on the table for decriminalization, let alone legalization, it’s obvious they are measures ahead of the U.S. in some aspects of marijuana reform.