Be informed and prepared

Legal cannabis use in Canada is 29 days away.

Its legalization has potential pitfalls for non-users and users alike travelling to the United States. In July at the International Society of Weekly Newspaper Editors who met in Portland, Oregon, heard regulators, producers and retailers, representing their cannabis industry.

The State of Oregon fully legalized their cannabis industry on December 31, 2016. Mark Pettinger from the Oregon State Liquor Board has been working on the new regulatory process for two and a half years.

“With any new, innovative and entrepreneurial industry”, said Pettinger, “regulations have and will continue to evolve”.

Working with industry groups, regulators are developing licensing, compliance and enforcement regulations with a focus to keep cannabis out of the hands of children and force out the criminal element.

Oregon’s cannabis industry has faced some interesting roadblocks. Many nationally-owned newspapers and media outlets do not accept cannabis industry advertising and many growers and retailers were initially unable to secure investment dollars or even open bank accounts.

American States that legalize cannabis users are technically criminals within their own country. Federal law prohibits the use, sale and production of cannabis and any such act is a criminal felony.

Thus, federally regulated banks could not legally open bank accounts for the cannabis industry, nor give loans.

Over time, State-regulated credit unions became the go-to for the cannabis industry and some producers turned to Canada for investment dollars.

Subsequent and ironically, U.S. federal laws have changed to allow non-Oregonians to invest in that State’s cannabis industry.

Canadians will have different issues especially those who travel to the United States.

If Canadian, and crossing into the U.S., be prepared to honestly answer the questions that will be asked after October 18.

Do you use or have you ever used marijuana? Do you have marijuana in your possession? Have you ever been charged with possession or trafficking? Do you work in any aspect of the marijuana industry? Are you invested in the marijuana industry?

For those who can’t get enough of shopping, vacationing or living parttime in the United States, question number five needs your full attention as it relates to your mutual fund investments.

For many Canadians, including myself, we pay little attention to what’s in our mutual funds.

Yet I do know bank shares make up my portfolio and yet it would defy logic that Canadian banks aren’t earning profits from the cannabis industry?

Surely prudent fund managers are also adding this emerging cannabis industry to their portfolios. The growth and profit potential is too tempting, especially as more and more States continue to move towards legalization.

I do ponder whether American border agents are asking the same questions of citizens from the Netherlands, a country with legalized cannabis, or is it just another example of the current President’s irrational jealousy towards Canada.

Whatever the case, be informed and prepared before crossing the border after October 18.

 

B. Schimke

ECA Review

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