Canada has made a groundbreaking step towards global marijuana reform by passing Bill C-45, otherwise known as the Cannabis Act. This bill legalizes the recreational use of marijuana on a federal level, requiring that the plant and its sale be regulated by the government. The push to legalize and regulate the plant was a large part of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s election campaign.
The First of the G7 Countries to Legalize
The Liberal Party’s website stated; “We will legalize, regulate, and restrict access to marijuana. Canada’s current system of marijuana prohibition does not work. It does not prevent young people from using marijuana and too many Canadians end up with criminal records for possessing small amounts of the drug.”
The country has now become the first of the G7 countries to legalize the plant, and the second country in the world to end prohibition, after Uruguay. The G7 countries include Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Italy, France, Germany and Japan. These countries have the seven largest advanced economies in the world, owning 62% of the global net wealth ($280 trillion). These countries have a strong influence on the world at large and Canada’s decision to legalize marijuana will no doubt have an influence.
The Lengthy Path to Legalization
The process for passing Bill C-45 has been a lengthy one. Trudeau promised to legalize marijuana during the 2015 election campaign and introduced the legislation in April 2017. It passed the House of Commons last November and, after some debate, the Senate passed the bill on Tuesday, 52-29.
Trudeau celebrated the victory, tweeting, “It’s been too easy for our kids to get marijuana – and for criminals to reap the profits. Today, we change that. Our plan to legalize & regulate marijuana just passed the Senate. #PromiseKept.”
Details of Canada Cannabis Legalization
It will now be legal to possess small amounts of the plant for personal use, including growing a few plants at home and for licensed retailers to sell to adults above the legal age limit. Licenses will be given to cultivators, manufacturers of marijuana related products, distributors and testers and the industry will be regulated based on recommendations made by a federal marijuana task force. Provinces will manage their own sales and distribution process as well as impose their own regulations, such as a higher minimum age.
Now that it is legal, it may take up to 12 weeks to implement the infrastructure and regulations for the Canadian marijuana industry. Therefore, the law will go into effect on October 17. A regulated marijuana industry for Canada means that the black market will be closed down along with the illegal activity and violence associated to it. It allows a new industry to open up for the public to profit from, rather than a criminal underground. Thousands of jobs will become available and the tax revenue will go back into local communities.
Many studies, including one conducted by Columbia University show that car accidents connected to marijuana use are ten times less likely than those connected to alcohol, which is legal. The plant has never caused a death by overdose. In U.S. states where it has been legalized, the teen usage rate has either stayed the same or decreased. For all of these reasons and more, the Canadian Liberal Party, led by Trudeau, have pushed to legalize the plant and they have finally succeeded in their task.