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The world of weed, as we know it, is about to change.
One recent story, which did not attract nearly as much press attention as it should have, broke about two weeks ago when the government of Canada announced that it was streamlining its medical marijuana dispensary system with new, business-friendly regulations.
While advocates found much to cheer in the new rules, one unnoticed clause of the new Canadian pot law may have a greater effect on the global trade than any other: a provision giving the clear green light to foreign corporations to open dispensaries in Canada. That means that large cannabis concerns like Diego Pellicer, Inc. may soon become the world’s first licit multinational cannabis corporations.
In other words, Big Marijuana is about to get a whole lot bigger. As in planet-sized.
While advocates may have every right to feel concerned about such a contingency, it’s important to examine the alternatives. Like it or not, multinational cannabis companies already exist: they’re called cartels.
Canada’s new rules may represent the best opportunity to diminish the influence of these violent and unscrupulous organizations, by supplanting them with nonviolent and somewhat more scrupulous competitors who are also subject to certain transparency requirements and quality control regulations.
And as I recently pointed out (see issue 8 of Cannabis Now Magazine, now on bookshelves), newly proposed rules in the United States all but assure a domestic cannabis market dominated by only the most well-financed players, even while they make some attempt to curtail sprawling chain stores (see, e.g., a three-store limit per company in Washington state).
Regardless of the cause, the cannabis industry sits at the dawn of a new global era, and until advocates succeed in creating a level playing field for all ganjapreneurs, consumers will have to pick their poison. Who would we rather have as the top dog of the planetary pot market: Jamen Shively, or “El Chapo” Guzman?