Yesterday in a surprise victory Canada voted to elect Liberal Justin Trudeau as Prime Minister, effectively ending the 10-year reign of Conservative Stephen Harper. Liberals celebrated their new Prime Minister and surprise majority of parliamentary seats (184 of 338), but none rejoiced more than the nation’s cannabis industry.
While Trudeau’s campaign platform included other liberal agendas, such as ending Canada’s involvement in the U.S. coalition against Isis in Iraq and Syria, pulling out of the F-35 stealth fighter jet program partnership, and amending Canada’s own controversial anti-terrorism laws (its version of the Patriot Act), it’s his pledge to legalize and regulate marijuana nationwide that has everyone taking note — especially investors.
As of this morning, shares in all of Canada’s listed cannabis companies spiked, hitting major new heights. Canada’s largest traded producer of medical marijuana, Canopy Growth Corp, saw its shares surge up to 21% when the markets opened this morning, and that’s after shares in the company had already risen 29% over the past week. Other smaller cannabis companies’ saw increases in share prices by as much as 40%. After witnessing the fiscal boon of legalization, especially recently in Colorado and Oregon, who can blame market-savvy Canadians for wanting a piece of their own pot pie?
Trudeau said legalizing and regulating marijuana like it’s done in the U.S.’s legalized states will keep it out of the hands of children and greatly increase tax revenues. He said prohibition is “making marijuana too easy to access for our kids, and at the same time funding street crime, organized gangs, and gun violence.”
I really like this guy — and not just because he looks like a Canadian JFK.
“We don’t yet know exactly what rate we’re going to be taxing it, how we’re going to control it, or whether it will happen in the first months, within the first year, or whether it’s going to take a year or two to kick in,” Trudeau said Monday, adding that while he can’t predict how long enacting legalization will take, his administration plans to begin working towards it “right away.”
When (and if, sadly, he’s still a politician) Trudeau delivers on this promise, Canada will become the first major country to fully legalize marijuana. Uruguay voted to do so in 2014, but full legalization is still yet to take effect; the Netherlands has been very relaxed towards enforcement of cannabis laws, but that White Widow pre-roll you hit in an Amsterdam “coffeeshop” back in college was still technically federally illegal.
Whether or not you agree with all of Trudeau’s Liberal Party’s points, I’d be surprised if you didn’t agree with its official stance on marijuana regulation: “We will legalize, regulate, and restrict access to marijuana. Canada’s current system of marijuana prohibition does not work. It does not prevent young people from using marijuana, and too many Canadians end up with criminal records for possessing small amounts of the drug. To ensure that we keep marijuana out of the hands of children and the profits out of the hands of criminals, we will legalize, regulate, and restrict access to marijuana.”
I must admit, Canada’s never looked better. I’d keep an eye out for a migration of Americans to our often-mocked neighbor to the North — even if Donald Trump isn’t elected.