Oh Canada, or should we say Cannada? Yes, it looks like the land up north, home to the Mounties, maple syrup and the Hockey Hall of Fame, is set to become the first of the large western economies that will make cannabis legal throughout the country. Much like the United States and other countries, cannabis use and possession was made illegal in Canada in the early 1920’s responding to international concerns over the plant. Efforts to relax the rules picked up support in the 1960’s along with increased use. Since 2001 Canada has had a medical marijuana law aimed at pain relief and other health conditions.
In 2015 the Liberal Party led by Justin Trudeau, campaigned to relax the rules. A recent announcement by now Prime Minister Trudeau (the Liberals won the election) Cannada – err Canada, may go legal for all persons over 18 years of age.
On April 13, 2017 legislation was introduced in Parliament to legalize the substance nationwide. Under the proposals the national government will regulate production including licensing and safety, while the provinces will control distribution and sales. Minors under the age of 18 will not be able to obtain the drug although higher age limits will be a provincial prerogative There is still a lot of work to do under the proposed legislation which if passed would become effective in July, 2018.
The Prime Minister declared that his purpose for supporting nationalized legislation is not revenue or even health although both might benefit. Prime Minister Trudeau cites protection of children and prevention of crime as his reasons to make cannabis legal everywhere in the True North. Apparently cannabis is easy to obtain in Canada if you’re underage and a well-regulated national program would help clamp down on remaining illegal use as well as regulating all legal uses. Authorities cite to 21% of youth and 30% of adults using cannabis in Canada now.
Beneficial use of cannabis for some child maladies, notably epilepsy and other neural disorders, is well documented, but so is the belief that cannabis use by young children and teenagers can affect brain development. Controlling the product with strong federal control will prevent abuse according to Canadian legalization advocates..
Also, according to Trudeau, the prevention of crime and the underground cannabis market, apparently still flourishing in Canada, is a primary goal of the new proposal. National controls will stop that abuse just as strong state led regulatory in the United States are intended to do.
As Canada goes liberal there are concerns about the U. S. going more conservative. Concern over stricter enforcement by U. S. Attorney=-General Jeff Sessions could become an issue in border crossings between the countries, so once the new Canadian rules are in place adherence to warnings about cross-border transport will be more important than ever.
Let’s keep an eye on what’s happening North of the border. Maple syrup and hockey won’t be the only reasons to visit soon.