What Canada Can Learn from California about Cannabis Legalization

Canada is set to legalize recreational marijuana on Wednesday, becoming only the second country in the world to do so. But considering they're breaking new ground, there aren't a ton of examples for them to learn from prior to legalization. But one reporter is advising Canada to learn from California.

Thomas Fuller is a New York Times correspondent who's covered marijuana legalization in California. In a new article, Fuller outlined several ways Canada can learn from California's experiences legalizing recreational marijuana.

The first thing Fuller noted is that sales will probably not meet expectations. He noted in California taxes and regulations have increased the cost of cannabis, and it's noticeably cheaper for consumers to continue buying marijuana on the black market. He also noted that many local governments impose restrictions or outright bans on marijuana, so many people in California have to travel in order to purchase marijuana.

He also noted that there will be growing pains as the industry gains more respect and legitimacy over time. Even in California, which is well-known for its cannabis, businesses and celebrities are only now rushing to the industry to get a piece. While many have ideas that it will be similar to after Prohibition ended in America and suddenly the liquor business boomed again, that's simply not going to be the case.

In short Fuller tells Canadians to lower their expectations. This won't be an overnight success. But given time, it could be. Just don't be too judgmental if it's not absolutely perfect on day one.

(h/t New York Times)

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