Comparative Cannabis: Approaches to Marijuana Agriculture Regulation in the United States and Canada
McGeorge Law Review, Volume 49, Issue 2 (2017).
28 Pages Posted: 7 Apr 2017 Last revised: 7 Oct 2019
Date Written: March 3, 2017
The United States and Canada may be friends and allies, but the two countries’ approaches to the regulation of marijuana agriculture has not evolved in tandem. On the contrary, their respective paths toward legalization and regulation of marijuana agriculture are remarkably divergent. In the United States, where marijuana remains a federally prohibited and tightly-controlled substance, legalization and regulation has remained the province of state legislatures and their administrative agencies for decades. In Canada, a succession of court cases paving the way toward medicinal marijuana use has prompted the federal government to develop a national framework committed to “legalize, regulate, and restrict access” to marijuana.
Many jurisdictions attempting to regulate (or exploring the possibility of regulating) the marijuana industry struggle to address the first step in the supply chain – agriculture. This essay will compare and contrast the experiences of the United States and Canada in the regulation of marijuana agriculture. It is evident that there is more than one regulatory approach that can provide a safe and sustainable product to consumers while promoting equity among farmers. Nonetheless, the trials and tribulations of pioneering governments can illuminate the pitfalls, consequences, and drawbacks policymakers are likely to encounter in the future.
Keywords: Cannabis, Marijuana Agriculture, Canada, United States, Regulation
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation