Countries are following Canada's path on cannabis legalization

Following Canada's legalization of cannabis, the North American cannabis industry is positioned to account for the majority of the global marketplace. Canada legalized recreational cannabis nationwide in October, making it the first G-7 country to do so. On the other hand, the U.S. currently only has 10 states, including the District of Columbia, that have legalized cannabis for recreational use, while 32 states have legalized medical use. Despite only having a fifth of the nation legalize adult-use cannabis, the U.S. alone dominates global sales, primarily driven by states such as California, Colorado, and Washington.

Now, Mexico's President-elect party is moving to legalize cannabis as well. Senator Olga Sánchez Cordero, interior Secretary selected by President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, said that cannabis is causing violent drug wars and poverty. If Mexico moves to legalize cannabis, it would join Canada, Uruguay and several U.S. states that have already done so. In return, the North American market would see a substantial increase in legal sales and be a major growth driver for the overall global industry. According to data compiled by Imarc Group, the North American legal cannabis market was valued at USD 8 Billion in 2017 and is expected to reach USD 35 Billion by 2023. Additionally, the market is expected to register a healthy CAGR of 28% throughout the forecast period.

Mexico is currently in the process of considering the legalization of cannabis as a means to control its ongoing drug war. Meanwhile, the U.S. and Canada have leveraged cannabis for medicinal and economic purposes. Medicinally, the two nations are using cannabis to treat various conditions such as chronic pain, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, cancer, and epilepsy.

Economically, Canada reported USD 48.5 Million in legal sales for the first two months of legalization, according to the Boston Globe. U.S. states such as California and Colorado reaped over USD 1 Billion in sales in 2017 and now states like Michigan and Nevada are positioned to achieve the same. Canada's legalization has left the U.S. and other nations to decide the legality of cannabis. Via the Associated Press, Democrat Oregon Senator Ron Wyden called prohibition a "failed policy that wastes resources and destroys lives." Wyden also said in a written statement, "Now that our neighbor to the north is opening its legal cannabis market, the longer we delay, the longer we miss out on potentially significant economic opportunities for Oregon and other states across the country."


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