A Unanimous Cheer: Canadian Companies Commend Cannabis Legalization

As expected, the Liberal Canadian government fulfilled a campaign promise made by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Tuesday when the Senate approved the nation’s cannabis legalization measure, making it the first major world economy to end the criminalization and prohibition of marijuana. Recreational use of marijuana is now legal across all of Canada. Trudeau himself welcomed the news, when he tweeted, “It’s been too easy for our kids to get marijuana - and for criminals to reap the profits. Today we change that.”

The Canadian cannabis industry joined in Trudeau’s enthusiasm, joyously applauding the measure. Here’s how some of the top cannabis companies reacted to the news that marijuana is now legal in all of Canada.

Canopy Growth Corp. (TSX:WEED) (NYSE:CGC), a world-leader in diversified cannabis and hemp, issued a statement entitled “And Now, This”, stating, “There are no words to describe and acknowledge this historic moment in Canada” The company commended the advocates who have spent years trying to affect this very change, giving particular praise to both the patients and the researchers who drove awareness of the powerful potential the cannabis plant has to offer the medical world. Canopy also applauded Canadian legislators who have “built a complex regulatory landscape with thoughtfulness and professionalism.”

Emerald Health Therapeutics, Inc. (TSXV:EMH) (OTCQX:EMHTF) also praised the Canadian government’s passage of Bill C-45 (the Cannabis Act), expressing joy at the end of Canada’s nearly century-long prohibition. Emerald CEO Chris Wagner had this to say: “The passage will provide a new legal framework and establish Canada as a globally recognized leader of cannabis legalization. We are the first G7 country to federally legalize cannabis for medicinal and recreational use. Moving forward, the world will look to Canada when developing their own rules and regulations.” Emerald welcomes the legalization which paves the way for their goal to build “large-scale, high-quality, low-cost cannabis production.” The company is a licensed producer of dried cannabis and cannabis oil for medical purposes.

It’s official! Prime Minister @JustinTrudeau has confirmed that adults will be able to purchase recreational #cannabis legally starting October 17, 2018. Save the date. Tell your friends. We’re making history here, Canada!#cdnpoli #acmpr #cannabiscommunity #october17 #c45 pic.twitter.com/Tc5gfBOyXk

— Emerald Health Therapeutics (@emeraldhealthca) June 20, 2018

Cannabis giant Aphria Inc. (TSX:APH) (US OTC:APHQF) also weighed in. The leading global cannabis company headquartered in Ontario has a global presence in ten countries on five continents. Aphria’s focus is on the low-cost production of pharmaceutical-grade cannabis. The company is also well-known for bringing tremendous innovation to the global industry.

Aphria issued this statement: “With annualized production of 255,000 kg, Aphria is well-prepared to meet the demand of the new adult-use market and our medical cannabis patients.” CEO Vic Neufeld described the legalization as a historic milestone for the country and the industry—a milestone that will “reverberate around the world as Canada solidifies its progressive leadership on cannabis. Like many other companies, Aphria applauded the government’s “consistent and conscientious efforts to protect public health and safety, restrict access to youth and eliminate the black market.”

“We’re ready to hit the ground running.” – Vic Neufeld, CEO of Aphria17 weeks until Oct. 17. The countdown begins! pic.twitter.com/alxcaDF0VR

— aphria (@aphriainc) June 20, 2018

Fortune reports that several stocks saw increases of two to six percent as a result of cannabis legalization, including Aphria and Canopy Growth, as well as MedReleaf, Aurora and Cronos Group. GW Pharmaceuticals also experienced a sizeable spike; the company is poised to have the first FDA-approved cannabis-based drug this summer. The CBD-based drug Epidiolex is a product developed for intractable epileptic seizures.

The Canadian government originally planned for retail cannabis sales to begin July 1 but has now set October 17 as the start date for legalized sales after the Canadian provinces pushed back asking for more time to properly implement the necessary infrastructure of distribution and sales networks.

Canadians will soon be able to not only carry up to 30 grams of dried cannabis but will also be able to grow four plants in their homes. The government does have penalties for people who carry or grow over this amount or sell to minors. Legislators are even toying with the idea of perhaps expunging the criminal records of huge numbers of Canadian citizens with prior possession convictions.

Each Canadian province is being given flexibility regarding how to implement the new law. For example, the province of New Brunswick will have government-operated stores called Cannabis NB, while other provinces like Alberta will make cannabis available at 200 private retailers. The provinces are also being allowed to set the minimum age of consumption, which will be age 18 or 19 depending on the province.

Cannabis legalization marks a major milestone in boosting the Canadian economy and the cannabis industry which could reach CAD$7 billion annually.

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