As geopolitics go, one of the most low-key rivalries of the modern era has been the gentleman’s duel between the United States and Canada. We never fail to remind them that their freedoms were won by our soldiers, and they never let us forget that the world likes them more. There are occasional trade disputes, too. But it’s generally all fun and games. Still, our neighbors to the north always seem to have a way of showing us up at the most sensitive of times.
While we were gearing up to hire a (literally) certified lunatic to run our country, Canada was settling into a long-term relationship with the liberal democratic dreamboat Justin Trudeau. The guy is so pretty that even Archie Bunker would get the vapors. While we were debating about precisely how sadistic and cruel our immigration policies should be, Trudeau was meeting Syrians at the airport–with freaking gift bags!
The trend continues in 2018: While our leaders are dragging their feet about decriminalizing cannabis–a matter in which citizens have made their feelings crystal-clear–Trudeau and co. have made an end-run around us by legalizing the stuff outright in mid-October.
Although prices were reportedly so high (pun intended) that the first guy in line at the first store walked out, it still took less than a week for Canada to completely clear out their weed rations. Ponder that for a moment. The closest we’ve ever come to that was when Snoop Dogg played Gator Growl last year, and we had to activate the National Guard just to roll joints. (I’m kidding–they weren’t really on the clock.) It was cause for celebration in Canada (presumably involving syrup), but brows were furrowed deeper than Dusty Rhodes’ forehead in Washington. The whole affair makes our leaders look bad. But, then again, they’re used to looking bad. Because they are bad.
The real problem is, like S.H.I.E.L.D., hydra-headed. We share 5,525 miles of border with them, of which 1,500 is Alaska. The other 4,000 covers another 12 states, of which only Idaho hasn’t at least gone in for medical marijuana by now. We now have a continental consensus that our leaders cannot control anymore. The US made $9.7 billion on cannabis last year, up more than 30% from 2016. This year’s numbers are expected to crush that. With tourism to Canada already surging, for obvious reasons, the new laws could shave our profits bigly.
Not only was pot legalized north of the border, it was amortized. Clearing the slate of previous pot convictions increases pressure on our government to do so, and this administration has already shown that it responds to pressure about as well as enriched uranium.
The U.S. has already signaled its intent to push back against our pals in the only way we really can: by being jerks. Canadians working in the cannabis industry can expect issues getting into America, whether their skin is brown or not. Many may be banned outright. And those voided convictions will carry little weight when applying for work visas. This could cost us millions more, particularly in those border states. It will undermine tourism and all manner of existing business relationships.
Ultimately, though, it’s a win-win for both countries. Frankly, this is precisely the kind of October Surprise we all needed.
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