New Insights into Canada Becoming The Second Nation In The World To Legalize Marijuana
By Roger Malespin photo/Isotck/AHPhotoswpg
June 19th, 2018 will go down as a historic day in the legalization movement, as Canada became the second nation in the world, and the first G7 country, to legalize recreational marijuana for its citizens. Federal government bill C-45 passed the Canadian senate with a vote of 52-29, with 2 abstentions. The act to legalize the recreational use of weed was first introduced on April 13, 2017, and was later passed at the House of Commons in November. The Senate passage of the bill was the final hurdle in the process.
It should be noted that Canadians will not be able to light up right away - Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould said the law will not go into effect for several weeks in order to give provinces time to set up a retail regime. After that is done, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s cabinet will set a date for the law going into effect.
The list of things Canadian citizens are allowed to do under the new law includes:
- purchase fresh or dried cannabis, cannabis oil, plants and seeds for cultivation from either a provincially or territorially regulated retailer, or — where this option is not available — directly from a federally licensed producer;
- possess up to 30 grams of dried legal cannabis or its equivalent in public;
- share up to 30 grams (or its equivalent) of legal cannabis and legal cannabis products with other adults;
- cultivate up to four plants at home (four plants total per household); and
- prepare varying types of cannabis products (e.g., edibles) at home for personal use provided that no dangerous organic solvents are used in the process.
Additionally, the proposed federal law spells out that it will be illegal for anyone younger than 18 to buy pot, but allows for provinces and territories to set a higher minimum age. Another concern for the lawmakers was how legalization would affect drivers, so the law gives police new powers to conduct roadside intoxication tests, including oral fluid drug tests, and would make it illegal to drive within two hours of being over the legal limit.
Canada’s approach to legalization is one that our country would do well to examine closely. It addresses minors having easy access to cannabis, the concerns of how it will affect drivers, and perhaps most importantly, keeping significant amounts of money out of the hands of criminal enterprises. Aside from our opioid crisis/ medical marijuana access problem, these are the chief concerns cited by the lawmakers in the U.S. who oppose legalization.
The U.S. is now officially behind the times on cannabis. At least before people could say Uruguay, a smaller country with much less complicated politics than America, was the only nation to legalize. But now that a G7 member and our biggest trading partner and ally has done so, our congress looks hopelessly archaic and inefficient next to Canada’s. We are getting there, slowly, but the momentum is getting greater every day, and Canada’s historic vote successfully implement a nationwide law with sensible restrictions on cannabis while allowing law abiding citizens to possess and use small amounts will undoubtedly go a long way in influencing lawmakers here.