In an annual poll conducted by the Canadian Press, business editors and reporters across the county named cannabis legalization as the business story of the year. The cannabis legalization story emerged as a clear winner in the contest with over 59% of votes in favor of the move. The recently concluded negotiations between US, Mexico, and Canada that led to a revised North American Free Trade Agreement in USMCA stood second with 30 percent of the votes. The expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline took the third spot with 10 percent of the total votes out of the eight possible options in the race.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau delivered on his promise of legalizing cannabis for recreational use across the country. Trudeau made the promise during his 2015 election campaign and stood true to it when he announced legalization of recreational marijuana on October 17, 2017. The announcement made Canada only the second country in the world after Uruguay to legalize recreational use of cannabis. According to multiple industry experts, the expansion of the Trans Mountain Pipeline was on its way to top the charts as the top business story of the year but the legalization of cannabis for non-medical purposes opened doors to an entirely new industry in Canada.
The cannabis industry in the country was buzzing with anticipation even before the legal announcement was made on October 17. More and more retail investors rushed to invest in the stocks of pot companies. Further, a plethora of acquisitions and mergers drew investors’ interest in the industry. Stocks of cannabis producers soared high with Tilray Inc’s stock reaching its peak value of USD 300. Other key developments that were the highlight of the build-up to the legalization announcement were Aurora Cannabis Inc. acquiring rival CanniMed Therapeutics for over USD 1 billion and MedReleaf for USD 3.2 billion.
The industry continues to expand as multiple investors continue to raise their stakes in the cannabis industry. Constellation Brands, a worldwide leader in liquor production known for manufacturing Corona, announced that it would be increasing its investment in Canopy Growth Corp from 9.9% to 38% while hinting that it may use the additional funding to further increase its stake up to 50% in the company. Another key development in the industry was Altria Group Inc., manufacturers of Marlboro, announced investing USD 2.4 billion in pot producing company Cronos Inc. to buy a 45% stake in the company. Although Canada is experiencing a shortage in supply of pot, several companies aim to boost production to cater to the rising demands of marijuana in the country.