The Canadian senate will on Thursday vote on a bill that would make the country the first G20 state to legalize recreational marijuana. The senate is expected to ratify Bill C-45.
There is as yet only one country where recreational weed is fully legal—Uruguay, although foreigners there aren’t supposed to buy it. The flower is partially or fully decriminalized in some countries, such as Spain and Switzerland, and many U.S. states now allow recreational use, but Canada would become the first of the world’s wealthiest countries to give its commercial sale the green light across the board.
The move should create a national test bed that will help with answers about effects on public health and the black market.
Last month, Aurora agreed to buy rival MedReleaf for $2.2 billion in stock. Aurora, which wants to “become nothing less than the world’s largest cannabis company,” earlier that month also snapped up CanniMed in a $598 million cash-and-stock deal.
Canada will control marijuana sales quite tightly—the product will have to be sold in plain packaging and prices will be capped in order to drive out the black market—but there is big money to be made. The investment bank Cannacord Genuity reckons legalization will enable sales of $4.6 billion by 2021.