A new Four Corners investigation has revealed how international cannabis distributors are rubbing their hands together over the prospect of Australia legalising recreational weed, or at least loosening restrictions around its medicinal use.
Last night’s report revealed that Canada’s Canopy Growth Corporation, a $5.6 billion publicly-traded company, has bought Australian patents for many of its products in anticipation of them becoming legal here someday.
Medicinal marijuana is legal in Canada, and recreational use of the drug is expected to be legalised there later this year. While most Australian states have allowed for some form of medicinal marijuana use, it is much more restricted here compared to Canada or some US states.
Canopy Growth founder Bruce Linton told the ABC that he expected big things for Australia’s marijuana market in the future, and he wants in. It’s Linton’s theory that once a country allows medicinal cannabis use, recreational cannabis will be legalised as a matter of time.
"We think it's just a natural progression,” he said. "Australia, Germany, everywhere… it is kind of the mandate. Prepare for the future, have things ready.”
Canopy Growth would be competing with locals like Australia’s largest medicinal marijuana company Cann Group, which trades on the ASX. But it makes sense that foreigners see potential here: Australians the biggest bong smokers on the planet, and the 2016 National Drug Strategy Household Survey found that marijuana is our most commonly used illicit substance.
And it’s worth noting that while businesses stand to profit from legalised weed, there would be public benefits to cannabis legalisation as well as private ones—on Sunday night, the Greens revealed that their plan to legalise cannabis for recreational use would raise almost $2 billion per year through taxation.