On October 17th, licensed retailers across Canada will open their doors and sell legal recreational cannabis for the first time.
TL;DR Listed below are eleven ways cannabis legalization in Canada will impact Americans.
Legalization in Canada has proved a huge undertaking. It has taken years to arrive at this historic moment. Governments have spent millions of dollars to prepare a new legal code and educate the public accordingly.
But as Canadians prepare for this monumental occassion, Americans, too, are eyeing legalization with intrigue.
But without the benefit of the widespread media attention and public resources dedicated to cannabis legalization, Americans are unsure about its true effects.
In fact, legalization will have a major impact on American individuals, culture, economy, and politics.
Here are ten ways how:
It will be more difficult to travel to Canada
The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (USCBP) Agency has issued repeated warnings to both Canadians and Americans about the legal risk of attempting to cross the border with cannabis.
Canadians who even admit to ever consuming cannabis could face lifetime bans from entering the United States.
While U.S. officials can't deny entry to an American citizen, they can more intensely scrutinze reasons for travel to Canada and exercise more probing searches into luggage and vehicles.
Americans should expect longer wait times at ports of entry and more invasive customs officials.
It will be easier to buy weed
Despite the best efforts of the USCBP, the cannabis black market in the U.S. will boom after legalization in Canada. Individuals and smugglers, alike, will inevitably take advantage of the legal supply in Canada and move product across the border.
To be clear, Americans should under no circumstances attempt to transport cannabis from Canada to the United States.
But that new influx of marijuana may even make it cheaper to buy illegally. More weed in the American black market will deflate prices.
American federal agents will become more strict about domestic consumption
Marijuana is still federally illegal in the United States despite its legalization in some progressive states like Massachusetts, California, and Colorado. That discrepancy has been the cause of many a spat between federal and municipal officials.
Such conflicts of jurisdiction will only increase in frequency after legalization in Canada.
Federal agents will look to set an example and assert American sovereignty as excitement in Canada spills across the border among American pot enthusiasts.
The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and FBI may even carry out more raids of dispensaries approved by state and local authorities.
More politicians will openly call for legalization ahead of the election
Legalization in Canada will likely liberate progressive politicians from the taboo that dominates the American public discourse when it comes to marijuana.
Many Democrats have already quietly called for legalization primarily as a way to rectify at least part of the racism that characterizes the American justice system; the vast majority of individuals arrested for minor weed-related offenses are people of color.
Expect more Democrats to openly express their support for legalization, especially in the weeks before the midterm elections in November. This may even become a staple of the Democratic party platform by the 2020 presidential election.
Trump may lash out
Trump may use legalization in Canada to further deprecate the country.
The president's contempt for Canada is well-known, despite his approval of his administration's new trade deal with its North American neighbors.
Trump's administration is notoriously skeptical of cannabis. Jeff Sessions, the attorney general, once even allegedly stated that he "favored the KKK until [he] realized they smoked weed."
As is often the case when international developments don't go his way, Trump may use Twitter to express his disapproval on or after October 17th.
States will become emboldened to defy the federal ban on marijuana
Officials in those states where recreational cannabis is already legal will become eager to exercise their states' rights and defy the federal government.
Local politics in the U.S. may consequently become more contentious. State legislators will point to Canada to vindicate their stances. They will rouse local and state pride by casting the federal government as archaic. As a result, the political discouse in the U.S. may become even more virulent.
Expect even more states to permit recreational use of cannabis as a result.
U.S. investors and companies will lose money
American cannabis enterprises have already begun to flock to Canada, where they will have more freedom to perform research into the drug and test marijuana-infused products.
According to the Huffington Post, investors are already looking to minialize their losses.
The Canadian economy is poised to boom as the burgeoning cannabis industry rakes in huge profits. Canada's gain will be America's loss.
American corporations will begin to openly lobby for legalization
It is an open secret that coporate money is the hand that controls American political developments. Same-sex and same-gender marriage in the U.S., for example, only gained mainstream support when coporations realized it could be profitable.
As money pours from the U.S. into Canada after legalization, corporations will push the federal government to adopt more lenient marijuana regulations.
Expect Republicans, and some "corporate Democrats" too, to suddenly reverse their stances on cannabis.
The new trade deal may be in jeopardy
Trump touted the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) as one of his greatest accomplishments. That deal, however, makes no provisions for the trade of cannabis research, products, or relevant law enforcement information.
This may be a huge hole in the agreement that Trump hopes will replace NAFTA.
Only time will tell, however, how marijuana legalization in Canada will affect its diplomatic and economic relations with the United States.
The culture will shift and the law will eventually follow
Canada will do the hard work of normalizing cannabis. Changing attitudes toward marijuana in Canada will slowly seep into American media portrayals and public perceptions of the drug.
The law will, of course, lag behind this cultural shift. But at this point, with Canada on the cusp of history, legalization in the United States seems inevitable.