Justin Trudeau’s historic Liberal victory could be a big win for Canadian’s medical marijuana industry as Trudeau’s previous pledge to “legalize and regulate” could increase a burgeoning sector of the country’s economy.
With the announcement of the new Liberal government late Monday evening, stocks for Canada’s top three medical marijuana producers increased sharply Tuesday.
Canopy Growth Corp. was up 11 per cent to $2.43, Aphria Inc. rose 5.3 per cent to $1 and Mettrum Health Corp. gained 7.6 per cent to $1.98, according to Bloomberg.
Bruce Linton, the CEO of Canopy Growth Corp, says Canada was one of the first countries to create legalized access to marijuana and “medical was the first method of access.”
“The legal access will be expanded from medical to recreational. And how you receive your recreational will be the discussion. Whether it’s through the mail or perhaps the medical marijuana association of growers creates dispensaries or depots. There are all kinds of possibilities.”
Trudeau has previously said legalising and regulating cannabis – selling and taxing it much like alcohol– would prevent children from accessing the drug, boost tax revenues, and keep money out of the hands of “organised gangs and gun runners.”
“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,” the Liberals state on their website.
However, the Liberals have yet to reveal details on how it would be regulated and taxed.
Advocates of medical marijuana, including UBC assistant professor of medicine MJ Milloy, say the current legal system of distribution is under used and not reaching as many people as it could.
“If Mr. Trudeau is in fact serious and if he removes some of those barriers, we could see more people accessing marijuana through the federal system,” said Milloy.
There are currently 26 licensed producers listed on Health Canada’s website with roughly 15,000 people with prescriptions for medicinal pot.
Milloy believes the outgoing Conservative government are “behind the times” when it comes to the issue and adds that using marijuana to treat chronic pain could help alleviate the rise in deaths associated with prescription drugs.
“Marijuana is a very well tolerated drug without the side effects that we see in other drugs like opioids,” he said. “We know Canada has seen an increase over the last ten years in prescription opioids and it has been paralleled by a rise in deaths from the misuse of prescription opioids.”
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