Weed Capital of the World: Canadian Pot Firms See Medical Exports Growing Under Trudeau Law

Article by Josh Wingrove and Jen Skerritt, Bloomberg News via Financial Post

Weed capital of the world: Canadian pot firms see medical exports growing under Trudeau law

Canada’s push to legalize recreational marijuana is rippling beyond its borders as companies move to boost exports of medicinal pot.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government unveiled its framework last week, quelling concern it would clamp down on export permits for existing medical-pot producers such as Canopy Growth Corp. and Aurora Cannabis Inc. Those firms, which have a head start on the legal recreational market, will continue to be allowed to export marijuana to countries such as Germany and Australia for medical and scientific use.

“It might not be so limited,” said Emily Larose, a partner with law firm Cassels Brock who specializes in cannabis regulation. Industry fears of onerous export restrictions have receded over the past year as bureaucrats typically approve any permit so long as the main requirements are met. “The way in which they’ve been granted so far seems to be more box-ticking.”

Firms in Canada, the second country and first major economy to unveil plans for legalization of recreational pot, have already secured investments and partnerships in countries where support for legalized medical marijuana is gaining ground. The global cannabis market may be worth US$200 billion, with the medical market accounting for 25 percent to 50 percent of that, Daniel Pearlstein, a research analyst in Toronto at Eight Capital, said by email.

‘Policy Exporter’

Canopy is already exporting to Brazil and Germany. Last year, the Smith Falls, Ontario-based company acquired pharmaceutical distributor MedCann GmbH, which has placed its cannabis strains in German pharmacies.

Bedrocan Canada Inc., a unit of Canopy, exported 10 kilograms of dried cannabis to Brazil to be used in a clinical study targeting epilepsy and pain management, according to a November statement.

Canada is emerging as a leader in public policy around marijuana and other countries will need its know-how as they shift toward making cannabis and cannabinoids part of standard medical treatment, said Chief Executive Officer Bruce Linton. That gives Canopy the chance to export product while the domestic industry makes that transition, and to set up production on the ground once it has, he said.

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