It Takes Time

Legalization of medical and recreational cannabis in Canada went into full effect on October 17, 2018. Although Canadian businesses have been getting ready for this launch, the result is necessarily slow and messy, especially if they take California’s rough growth as an example. Relatively few businesses obtained the necessary licenses necessary and there was a cannabis shortage at launch.

Despite the fact that legalization occurred as a process, it shows how an entire modern nation will have made the step towards cannabis legalization in a controlled manner. It is an example both on how to do things and maybe how not to do things in the US when it inevitably bows to the pressure of scientific evidence and changes in social stigma. The company Canopy Growth has conducted the first legal export of cannabis from Canada to the US for research.

The final blow to prohibition will likely come when data from Canada’s national insurance program and government as a whole analyzes patient data on benefits and risk and publishes the metadata on its effects on the public. That, combined with the export and tax dollars resulting from the program, will be an incredible incentive for politicians in the US to take ending prohibition on cannabis seriously.

Another nation that will be key in proving the clinical worth of cannabis is Israel. Israel’s government and scientific establishment have become THE world leaders in cannabis research and an Israeli firm Asana Bio Group Ltd., will become a key player in doing the clinical trials that will prove the benefits of cannabis to even the most skeptical.

What the US risks by refusing to change its laws and approach to cannabis is to lose out on being the world leader in a new field of medicine that will change how we treat diseases over the next century. The endocannabinoid system is the key physiological homeostatic switch in the mammalian body and those that discover how to exploit this system for human benefit will own the patents on medicines that will rule for a generation. If the US wants to maintain its role as a scientific and medical leader, it needs to change its stance rapidly or be left behind.

Ethan Carruthers