Canada is the first G20 nation to legalize recreational cannabis and medical marijuana on a national level. With Canada’s decriminalization of cannabis, the United States is provided with an unprecedented opportunity to study the effects of the Cannabis Act that recently passed in the Canadian Senate.
Currently, medical marijuana is legal in 30 states. With more than half of the country voting to legalize cannabis at the state level, federal decriminalization seems like a more achievable goal every day. With federal legal cannabis on the horizon, Americans have the unique opportunity to learn from our neighbor to the north and apply what we learn to decriminalizing cannabis at the national level.
One of the best ideas included in the Cannabis Act was the decision to allow providences to make regulatory choices for themselves. For example, Newfoundland will allow private shops, while other provinces will only permit government-run stores to sell cannabis. The U.S. should take a cue from this decision and leave the majority of regulatory decisions up to the states. By allowing each state the right to make their own decisions regarding how they want legal cannabis to be regulated, it will ensure every state can foster the environment most desirable for their citizens.
Another well thought out strategy utilized by the Canadian Senate was taking the time necessary to draft a bill that anticipated a number of possible eventualities and legislated accordingly. This was accomplished by waiting for input from federal task force teams before drafting the Cannabis Act. By affording a similar attention to detail to the development of comparable cannabis decriminalization legislation, the U.S. Congress can draft laws that provide lasting, reasonable regulation. Furthermore, by ensuring that federal task force teams complete adequate research before promulgating decriminalization legislation, the U.S. can be sure that the regulations will be more likely to stand the test of time.
However, one area where the U.S. might want to reconsider Canada’s legislation is packaging. Under Canada’s Cannabis Act, all packaging must be nondescript, with strict regulation governing the fonts and colors available to designers. While the U.S. may still find it desirable to include adequate warning labels on packaging (as with tobacco and alcohol products), it is unnecessary to place such complicated packaging requirements on cannabis products. By requiring packages to include a warning label but otherwise allowing the company to decide what packaging is most effective for their cannabis product, the U.S. can approach the cannabis industry with more opportunities available for development of market.
Brett Pojunis Chairman and CEO
Brett H. Pojunis is the Chairman and CEO of MJ Venture Partners, Inc. (MJVP) and an active member of the board of directors of Player’s Network, Inc. (PNTV). PNTV is a publicly traded diversified holding company operating primarily in marijuana and media. PNTV is traded on the OTCQB exchange and has been a fully reporting publicly traded company since 1998.