American Weed Stuck in Molasses

With a Democratic president, Congress and Senate in the US, as well as eighteen states allowing legal recreational cannabis and another 37 legalizing pot for medicinal use, it feels like high time for federal American cannabis legal consumption. Today, we hear so much about the large American cannabis companies like Curaleaf and Trulieve, but they still can’t sell pot across the United States the way Tilray and Canopy can across Canada. Is that going to change?
“It’s going to change, but I don’t think it’s going to happen during the first term of president Biden,” says Jay Rosenthal, founder of Business of Cannabis, a longtime industry bible for cannabis news and financial reports. Biden, a Democrat, currently has the majority in both American houses, however, says Rosenthal, with the war in Ukraine, the ongoing health crisis stemming from the global pandemic, and a difficult fight with inflation, cannabis legalization has fallen off the president’s radar. Despite the momentum of American weed, it’s still years away from America adapting the rickety, groundbreaking, improving Canadian system.
“It could be an election issue, but I don’t think it’s anything either a Republican or Democrat candidate would run on because, despite the Canadian roll out, it’s still unknown in the US and, having worked in Washington, I know politicians don’t love unknown risks,” says Rosenthal, adding that it could be a Republican issue—because of the job creation and business story—but that a law change is still more likely to occur under a Democrat’s watch. “There’s just so many unknowns and even in states where cannabis has become legal, there’s still a certain skepticism in the American air.”
That skepticism could be good news for the Canadian companies, from the micros like Carmel and Greybeard to the larger brands, like HEXO and Organigram. If America does federally legalize cannabis, the FDA will have to approve the American greenhouses and grows. Jay Rosenthal says the Canadian companies, having grown-up amidst regulations from Health Canada, are miles in terms of their best practices above their American peers.
“It’s a different mindset in Canada amongst the licensed producers, companies who from the beginning had to adhere to really tight regulations,” Rosenthal explains, adding that certain American weed brands still have things like dogs roaming freely through their outdoor grows. “Health Canada is very rigorous and that’s just not something the American brands have grown up with. I think it’s much harder for a cannabis company to retrofit their process to regulations than being like a Canadian weed brand, which was custom-built to adhere to regulations from the start.”
At any rate, despite encouraging progress with the American approach to cannabis legalization, it’s still clear they're years behind Canadian progressive federal cannabis regulations. As the country moves towards 4/20, beating the Americans is one more thing to get high and love.
Canadian weed brands are miles ahead of their American peers.