Canada’s cannabis industry, banking on the chance to expand into the United States, is nervously eyeing the American political calendar and the Biden administration’s narrow legislative window to ease federal prohibitions on recreational marijuana.
The White House has said President Joe Biden supports decriminalizing cannabis, legalizing pot for medicinal purposes and changing how marijuana is classified by the Department of Justice to allow for further study of its potential positive and negative effects.
But while Democrats currently hold all the political cards on Capitol Hill, their control of Congress remains precarious, and progressives fear the Republicans are likely to take over the House of Representatives following the 2022 midterms.
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That means if change is going to happen in the United States, it needs to happen soon, said David Culver, vice-president of global government relations for Canopy Growth Corp., one of the largest players in Canada’s legal cannabis market.
“We were literally dealt, in my opinion, the perfect political hand for cannabis reform to occur during this Congress,” Culver said in an interview.
“The White House made it very clear when they took office, at least to our industry, that they needed to get this pandemic under control. We’ve been sitting with this perfect political hand for almost six months now … and we’re still waiting patiently as it relates to the administration.”
The cannabis landscape in the U.S. is an ever-changing patchwork; the drug is or will be allowed for medical use in 36 states and for recreational use in 13, as well as the District of Columbia. But federal law still considers it a Schedule I controlled substance with high risk of abuse and no accepted medical use, alongside drugs