By Markian Hawryluk/Kaiser Health News
After 20 years of experience, legal marijuana growers in the U.S. have the reputation of creating the best product in the world, scientifically grown and tightly regulated for quality and safety. The crop would be in high demand internationally – perhaps the centerpiece of a new U.S. industry – if not for the regulatory conundrum in which growers operate.
Because marijuana is legal in many states but still illegal federally, marijuana growers are unable to ship their products to other countries or even other American states that have legalized the drug. So while U.S. cannabis firms have driven product innovation and mastered the science of large-scale grow operations, they restlessly wait for the export curtain to lift.
Instead Canada has emerged as the dominant exporter in the burgeoning global trade of marijuana, which ArcView Market Research and BDS Analytics estimated at $14.9 billion in sales for 2019.
Companies there are raising capital and building international trade ties despite having an unlikely climate to be an agricultural pot haven.
Rezwan Khan, vice president of global corporate development for cannabis seed supplier DNA Genetics, believes that U.S. cannabis is the world’s best but said, “Canada has a huge advantage, because they can fill a gap.”
Best In The World
Khan said California cannabis especially is superior because its growers have been developing legal marijuana products since 1996, longer than everywhere but Amsterdam.
“California has been the epicenter of cannabis culture for many years,” he said.
Its cannabis seeds have been distributed all over the world, and many foreign firms are trying to reproduce the quality of West Coast marijuana. But Khan said it takes more than seeds and water to grow good weed.
The genetics and sophistication underlying the U.S. cannabis industry lead to better-quality and higher-potency