Canada has just become the second country to permit widespread sales and use of cannabis. Legislation approved early this month pushed the country one step closer to making it a reality. Just days ago, on June 19, Canadian lawmakers announced that they had approved landmark legislation to fully legalize marijuana.
In a session that lasted six hours on June 7, the Senate voted 56 to 30 – with just one abstention – in favor of a version of the bill that includes several dozen amendments. One of those amendments would be laying down stricter rules for advertising for cannabis businesses. The new law, which is being called a ‘historic’ piece of legislation, will come into effect on October 17 this year.
In approving the bill, Canadian senators acknowledge that the country will face many new obstacles. For example, the nation will face international scrutiny. Specifically, over whether this new law puts Canada in violation of U.N. anti-drug treaties. The Canadian government will also have to inform its citizens that admitting to marijuana use could create problems when crossing the U.S. border (or prevent them from entering altogether). According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, marijuana is still classified as a Schedule 1 drug with “no currently accepted use and a high potential for abuse.”
If all goes as expected, the Canadian government plans to launch legal sales in just a couple of months. In comparison, the approach and acceptance of legalization in the U.S. is very different from the experience thus far in Canada.
In the U.S., just 9 states and the District of Columbia have legalized cannabis. As mentioned, cannabis is still very much illegal at the federal level. Marijuana merchants find themselves caught between the state and the federal government. Trying to operate smoothly and accept any payment besides cash is a real challenge for U.S. merchants, since banks shy away from the industry for fear of federal prosecution.
Medical marijuana in Canada, on the other hand, has been legal since 2001. In addition, recent estimates have set recreational marijuana sales in Canada as high as $3.3 billion by 2027; this is mainly due to the fact that businesses in Canada will be able to work nationally, unlike the cannabis firms in the U.S.
While there has been hints of change coming in the U.S., thanks to new legislation moving through Congress thanks to Sen. Gardner and Sen. Warren, marijuana businesses are still struggling to find the business solutions they need. Without a secure merchant account, they are unable to accept anything but cash from their customers, impractical not to mention completely unsafe.
To provide a solution to this every-growing problem, Marijuana Merchant Account offers wide variety of merchant services, including: payment processing solutions, ECheck services, business funding options and more. If your cannabis firm needs safe and convenient payment processing, contact the experts at MMA for more information on how to get started.