While recreational marijuana legalisation is well on its way in states like Colorado, it remains illegal at the federal level, stifling the growth and innovation of the industry’s first movers.
Meanwhile, north of the border, Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau has vowed to legalise recreational marijuana consumption on a federal level, opening the door to investment, less restrictive tax policies and banks that can treat the marijuana industry like any other. While legalisation hasn’t yet taken place in Canada, when it inevitably does American marijuana businesses may suddenly find themselves at a disadvantage.
“They’ll be first to market,” says Williams. “There’s going to be a lot of development and innovation in Canada that’s going to spur economic growth and attract investment. First to market is going to get a lot of attention, so it’s a lost opportunity for the United States if and when that happens.”
Williams believes that Canadian companies will eventually leapfrog the growth and development that’s taken place in the US since legalisation began at the state level.