February has not been showing the love to global cannabis markets. Canadian and Israeli cannabis markets have seen a wave of negative news hit recently, as government regulation delays seem to provide hurdles to growth.
Canadian Cannabis Legalization Looks To Be Delayed Until As Late As 2019
Just last week, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau reassured citizens that recreational marijuana use would be legalized as early as July. A recent evaluation by the Canadian government has revealed that legislation will not be completed until August, at the earliest.
Canadian Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor has pointed out that the provinces and territorial governments will require extra time. Once senate approval is granted, local governments will need two-three months to prepare for marijuana sales.
Marijuana legalization was an important part of Prime Minister Trudeau’s election campaign. This has put Trudeau and the federal government under pressure to pass the bill quickly.
The Senate’s approval is still required, but it is uncommon for them to deny bills from the House of Commons. Despite this, some senators have suggested they will take their time in passing the bill. Conservative Senator Pierre-Hugues Boisvenu believes cannabis legalization could be pushed as far back as 2019, in order to full develop an implementation plan.
Canadian police are among those who support delaying the bill. Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard has stated officers need to prepare for “issues surrounding traffic regulations, for training, and for other things we want them to do as well.”
However, not all provinces are proceeding with the same mindset. Four marijuana retailers were pre-approved for sales in Manitoba this past week. Canopy Growth Corporation (OTC Pink: TWMJF) (TSX: WEED) and Delta 9 Cannabis, Inc. (OTC Grey: VRNDF) (TSXV: NINE) were two of the four companies that received pre-approvals. However, retailers and the government are still negotiating specific details, such as how business will be regulated and number of stores.
Trump Kills Israel’s Medical Cannabis Export Plans To US, Would Have Raised $1 Billion Annually
Earlier this month, news broke that effectively stated that Israel’s look planned export of medical cannabis to the U.S. has been put on hold. Several news outlets have conflicting reports saying that the decision came at the request of the U.S. president. While others have stated Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu chose to freeze the plans in order to not upset President Trump. Ultimately, the decision will see Israel’s dreams of generating more than $1 billion annually evaporate overnight.
The medical cannabis exports to the U.S. was supposed to be the beginning of Israel’s rise to be one of the world’s top marijuana exporters. The plans seemed to have strong government support, as several Israeli ministers recently toured cannabis farms within the country. Furthermore, the export plans had the full support and backing of the country’s health, agriculture, and finance ministries. Yet, Prime Minister Netanyahu seems to have had a change of heart, as he is worried of angering the Trump Administration.
This comes as Netanyahu begins to face increasing pressure at home over alleged corruption. Israeli police have recently announced that they have found “significant evidence” to indict Netanyahu on charges of “accepting bribes, fraud, and breach of trust,” according to the police statement released.
Overall, the recent government decisions are a setback for the Canadian and Israeli cannabis markets. Unfortunately, Israel’s cannabis market seems to be facing a lot more uncertainty right now, as there is a lot of disagreement within the government on how to handle the export plans.
While Canada is facing a legalization implementation problem, there certainly does not seem to be any large opposition against the legalization itself. In the end, this news will likely put the pressure on Canadian and Israeli cannabis stocks in the short term, but these setbacks will most likely be temporary hurdles.