Cannabis is Now Legal in Canada
One promise Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made as part of his campaign was to legalize marijuana. Trudeau recently fulfilled this promise, making Canada the second nation in the world to legalize marijuana.
On June 19, Bill C-45 (aka the Cannabis Act) was passed 56-30, a landmark move that ended almost a century of prohibition in Canada and forever changed the history of cannabis as we know it.
Canada Becomes Second Nation in the World to Legalize Cannabis
Canada is the second world nation to legalize weed after Uruguay, where nationwide cannabis was made legal in 2013. Canada is the first of the G7 countries to legalize cannabis. G7 (Group of Seven) countries include Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States. These countries are the seven most advanced economies in the world and represent more than 62% of the global net worth.
The bill to legalize recreational cannabis throughout Canada was first presented on April 13, 2017. In November 2017, it was passed at the House Commons. And now, just over a year later, the Cannabis Act has passed, giving Canadians the legal freedom to enjoy their Mary Jane. Considering cannabis has been prohibited for 90 plus years, its easy to see why countless people around the world are celebrating this landmark occasion.
Canadians 18 and over (19 in some parts of the country), are now legally permitted to posses up to an ounce of cannabis and grow four plants in their home. Mark your calendars, Canada. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau recently announced the official legalization date as October 17, 2018.
The World Reacts to Legal Cannabis in Canada
While Canada’s decision is certainly being celebrated, not everyone in the world supports Canada’s choice to legalize weed. Take Russia for instance, who says Canada “deliberately decided to breach” international law. Russia is now looking for a response from other G7 nations.
According to a statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Russia, “We expect Canada’s partners in the G7 to respond to its ‘high-handedness’ because this alliance has repeatedly declared its adherence to the domination of International law between states.”
Russia isn’t the only one criticizing Canada for legalizing cannabis. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) also voice their disappointment in the decision.
“UNODC regrets the Canadian legislature’s decision to legalize cannabis for non-medical use. As noted by the International Narcotics Control Board in its statement of 21 June, this decision contravenes the provisions of the drug control conventions, and undermines the international legal drug control framework and respect for the rules-based international order,” said the UNODC in a statement on June 21.
In some regards, the United Nations has a point. Canada is part of international drug treaties that ban legalizing cannabis. Passing the legalization of cannabis in Canada then, is in direct violation of international laws. The US (which is also part of these treaties) contends that because marijuana is illegal at the federal level that it has not violated any international law. And while Canada’s decision could lead to severe backlash from other countries, its difficult to say if any would actually do so. Especially with marijuana legal in several US states for medical and/or recreational use.
Will Canada’s Decision Pave the Way for Other Countries to Legalize Cannabis?
Aside from Russia and the United Nations, there hasn’t been too many other adverse opinions. In fact, many see this as a positive indication of what’s in store for the future of marijuana legalization.
Chuck Smith is President and CEO of Dixie Elixirs, a well-established Colorado cannabis company that has been in the business of marijuana for over 10 years. According to Smith, “This move by Canada really shows us that we can actually do this and not be afraid of doing it.”
Smith says that Canada’s decision only increases the credibility of the cannabis industry. “This legitimizes the industry,” says Smith, “and continues to show how the world is adopting cannabis as just an alternative form of medicine or recreation.”
Smith also believes that Canada’s decision to legalize cannabis nationwide is setting the standard for the US to do something similar. As more and more states in the US adopt medical and recreational laws, perhaps its only a matter of time that the US follows in Canada’s footsteps.