Canadian Election Could Usher in Big Changes for Cannabis Industry

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Canada’s medical cannabis industry could undergo a big shift if the controlling Conservative Party loses power in the upcoming fall election.

Some observers say a changing of the guard to either the Liberal Party of Canada or the New Democratic Party (NDP) would accelerate the industry’s growth, possibly pave the way for the entrance of tobacco and pharmaceutical companies, and cut red tape for licensed medical marijuana businesses.

The Liberal leader has promised to legalize and regulate cannabis if elected; the NDP leader would decriminalize it.

“We have the most anti-weed party in power right now,” Khurram Malik, an analyst at Jacob Securities, told the Canadian Press. “Any other party that wins is a lot more friendly to marijuana than this one, so things will get done a little more efficiently and openly, so people can actually plan their businesses in a more reasonable and logical manner.”

One potential change could involve the scores of illegal medical marijuana dispensaries operating in western cities such as Vancouver, British Columbia. All dispensaries were supposed to close in 2013, but local officials in some areas have allowed them to continue to operate.

Vancouver angered the federal government by attempting to regulate – and therefore legitimize – the city’s estimated 100 dispensaries. New, more lenient leadership might not take the same tack, according to the Canadian Press.

The federal election will be held on Oct. 19.