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.