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Canada legalized marijuana. How the country went to this and why not everyone likes it

And what consequences can there be in removing the almost century-long ban.

Photos from Cannabis Culture

June 19, Canada legalized the storage and use of marijuana for recreational purposes – in fact, this means full legalization of herbal drugs. Canada made it the second in the world after Uruguay and the first among the member countries of the “Big Seven”.

Canada has come a long way from total ban to free sale of marijuana, but this is only the beginning. The key promise of the liberal government is fulfilled, but it will be followed by years of amendments and discussions of the problems that have arisen.

Canada unsuccessfully struggled with marijuana 80 years

Marijuana became one of the first drugs banned in Canada. Fighting began with her in 1923, although until the 1930s her smoking was not particularly widespread in this country and attracted little attention: for several decades, marijuana-related crimes accounted for only 2% of the total number of violations.

To withdraw marijuana from the law, Canadian officials decided after attending international conferences on the fight against drugs, including hemp, among others. Presumably, the visit of the head of the Canadian narcottists to one of the profile sessions of the League of Nations was decisive .

In the 1960s, Canada experienced an explosive growth in criminal terms for the storage of marijuana: from a few tens to several thousand, and then – more than 12,000 per year. The terms themselves also grew: from six months to 14 years of imprisonment.

Special Senate Committee illicit drugs then tied in popularity with the rise in popularity of cannabis “psychedelic hippie spirit” and increased media attention (including activity appears clandestine editions), as well as frequent trips to the Far East country Canadians with easily accessible hashish.

The second explosion of marijuana’s popularity occurred in Canada in the 1990s. Then non-profit clubs for seriously ill people began to appear throughout the country , including for the use of medical marijuana. At the same time, almost every third representative of the Canadian youth admitted that he at least once used various forms of cannabis.

By 2016, the number of Canadians who used marijuana at least once a month exceeded the mark of five million people (about 15% of the population). According to polls, in case of legalization this number could increase by at least 900 thousand people (some estimates reached 3 million).

Legalization was not easy and fast

In 2001, for the first time in the world , marijuana was allowed to be used for medicinal purposes in Canada – but only for patients with illnesses that limit their life span or have debilitating symptoms (eg epileptic seizures or AIDS infections).

After the legalization of medical marijuana, Americans began to arrive in large numbers in Canada . At home, they were harassed by local authorities: during the first term of George W. Bush, the Drug Control Office often arranged raids on clubs of medical marijuana, which at that time was not legal in the US.

After the legalization of medical marijuana, many Canadian companies began legally growing marijuana in giant sheds and getting money from stock trading on the stock exchange – because their products were intended solely for medical purposes.

Laws on the decriminalization (subsequently – legalization) of marijuana were repeatedly introduced into the Parliament of Canada. The first attempt was made back in 2003, but then it failed – at first there were not enough votes, and then the powers of the parliament expired.

In 2017, the law on legalization was proposed by the government of young Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. The 46-year-old leader of the Liberal Party got his post after his party recaptured the parliamentary majority from the Conservative Party, which was not interested in legalization issues.

The path that we chose to resolve the issue [of marijuana legalization] is based on months, if not years of consultation with experts. It is adopted taking into account the best practices from around the world and the best ways to eliminate criminals from selling marijuana, as well as to protect our society and our children.

Justin Trudeau
Prime Minister of Canada

Despite the desire of the Trudeau government to exclude crime from the marijuana market, it is unlikely to achieve this completely, most likely. This is evidenced by the experience of Uruguay, which was the first in the world to completely legalize cannabis: the number associated with marijuana detentions decreased, but in the streets there was some illegal sale. Basically – for tourists who can not get a drug legally.

There are many problematic places in legalization

Studies have shown that more than half of Canadian employers are concerned about the possibility of using marijuana in the workplace. Most of all, they are concerned about safety – not only consumers of cannabis, but their colleagues.

Some of the senators who voted for the “Act of cannabis” remained critical of his prospects even after the adoption of the document. They added that legalization does not make taking drugs a right action.

Educate and act cautiously. What you are doing today will invariably affect your life for many years.

Leo Hususkus
senator from the Conservative Party

According to Canadian manufacturers of marijuana, the new law not only “opens the door [for consumption], but raises many questions.” Among them, owners of sheds with hemp name the requirements for packaging, labeling and dosage of the product before selling it – in order to specify them, additional acts will be needed.

According to the law adopted by the Parliament of Canada, marijuana should be sold in neutral packaging – as well as tobacco. Legislators noted that the attitude to cannabis will be similar to the attitude to tobacco: they do not support, but they are allowed and regulated.

An example of packaging marijuana packaging with health warnings in the English and Canadian versions of French

The right to set a minimum age limit for the purchase of marijuana and the maximum amount of product that an individual can store for his purposes, Canadian politicians have left regional legislators. By default, these indicators are 18 years and 30 grams.

The provinces will also independently set limits on the sale and consumption of marijuana. In some of them, hemp products will be sold only in specialized state stores, and some will be banned from smoking in public places.

According to the adopted law, Canadian enterprises will not be able to sell muffins, marmalade and other goodies with hemp oils – probably because of problems with the dosage that the version of the document adopted in the parliament does not regulate. However, Canadians will be able to make food with marijuana.

To the Canadian budget, legalization is very beneficial

$ 675 million
Can annually receive the government of Canada from the taxation of the marijuana market – even at the lowest rates. The planned rate is 1 cent per gram of goods or 10% of its value (whichever is higher)

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