Huge Cannabis Industry Deal Suggests Federal Legalization Could Be Close

By Lindsey Weedston 04/25/19

Rumors of federal cannabis legalization have been brewing ever since key anti-cannabis leaders have left the White House.

Image: 
man holding container of medical marijuana
Photo via wikimedia/cannabis tours

A multi-billion dollar deal between two big cannabis companies could signal that the end of prohibition is near, according to an article in Forbes.

Canopy Growth, the biggest cannabis company in the world, recently signed a $3.4 billion agreement to acquire the well-known U.S. medical marijuana firm Acreage Holdings.

However, this deal will not go into effect until after cannabis becomes federally legal in the country.

Industry experts are now speculating that such a big deal between cannabis companies that are powerful enough to have lobbyists in Washington, D.C. could mean that there is a yet-unannounced plan to legalize the drug soon—perhaps even within the year.

“Our right to acquire Acreage secures our entrance strategy into the United States as soon as a federally-permissible pathway exists,” reads the Canopy Growth press release on the merger.

Mike Adams of Forbes and Cannabis Now notes that the company that makes Corona beer owns 37% of Canopy Growth’s equity and has been working with them to make THC-infused beverages in Canada. It looks like “Big Alcohol is becoming Big Cannabis,” Adams writes.

Rumors of imminent federal cannabis legalization have been brewing ever since shakeups in the White House have removed some key anti-cannabis leaders and replaced them with individuals with a more accepting view on the drug, which remains in the federal Schedule I classification alongside heroin.

In November 2018, former House Rules Committee chairman Pete Sessions lost his bid for re-election. Sessions was known for blocking any pro-cannabis legislation that came up, which he could do in his position as chairman. With him gone, as well as former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, there is now a clear path for legalization.

“This is the first Congress in history where, going into it, it seems that broad marijuana reforms are actually achievable,” said Tom Angell of Marijuana Moment early this year.

At the same time, in February the World Health Organization (WHO) called on the UN to reclassify cannabis to recognize the substance’s medical applications. Like in the U.S., the UN still has cannabis under its most tightly regulated classification and considers it to be “particularly dangerous.” WHO argued in their report that the current classification has fallen behind modern research.

“The World Health Organization has proposed rescheduling cannabis within international law to take account of the growing evidence for medical applications of the drug, reversing its position held for the past 60 years that cannabis should not be used in legitimate medical practice,” the report reads.

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Lindsey Weedston is a Seattle area writer focused on mental health and addiction, politics, human rights, and various social issues. Her work has appeared in The Establishment, Ravishly, ThinkProgress, Little Things, Yes! Magazine, and others. You can find her daily writings at NotSorryFeminism.com. Twitter: https://twitter.com/LindseyWeedston

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