A completely different administration will be getting the keys to the White House on January 20th. As always when this happens, a new relationship between the leaders of Canada and the U.S. must be forged.
One doesn’t need a magnifying glass to see that Canada and the incoming U.S. administration have diverging policies on issues that include foreign relations, socialized medicine, and the new green elephant in the room, marijuana.
A recent article released by The Canadian Press outlines the various challenges that could arise between Trump and Trudeau when it comes to cannabis legalization.
First and foremost, even before Obama heads out the door, a problem already exists at the Canada/U.S. border. Some border patrol officers on the American side have taken to asking random Canadians if they have smoked marijuana in the past. If the person entering the U.S. answers yes, they are denied entry. This is something that Canada’s Public Safety Minister, Ralph Goodale, called a “ludicrous situation” which needs to be addressed.
Despite the entry challenges for Canadians who have smoked pot — millions of us have — a benefit for Canada is that we have the incentive to acquire the best and brightest minds in the American pot business. Working in a nationally legalized cannabis industry with no threat of arrest, seizure or any other legal hurdles, should be a very enticing pitch.
These employment opportunities were reflected in the CP article which cited Betsy Kane, an Ottawa-based immigration lawyer, who said she has already completed several applications for Americans applying for jobs with Canadian MMJ companies.
One of the biggest political dances that PM Trudeau will need to do is getting out of three international treaties that outlaw the production of cannabis. The U.S. is a big supporter of these treaties and could make things difficult if they wanted to.
Two other possible areas to watch could be trade and tourism. For trade, cross-border deals with states that have legalized is impossible at the moment, because marijuana is illegal at the federal level in the U.S.
In regards to tourism, Canada may see a boom of tourists flocking from U.S. bordering states that don’t have legal marijuana for adult-use, such as Montana and Michigan.
All in all, Trudeau might not be as “chummy” with President-Elect Trump as he is with President Obama, but the hope is that at least there will be a positive and productive relationship for the next four years. Just don’t expect the two world leaders to share a blunt anytime soon.