In a vote which ended 52-29 within the Canadian Senate, a law passed nationally legalising recreational marijuana on 1 July, 2018. However, the Canadian government says it will take some time after that to organize sales.
The Cannabis Act focuses on regulation and control of how the Class B drug can be grown, distributed and sold.
As of September (possibly), citizens of Canada will be able to legally purchase and consume cannabis.
The government are expected to choose an official date this week for the law coming into force, once the bill has received Royal Assent.
This marks a historic moment for the Cannabis industry as Canada is only the second country in the world to legalise the drug’s recreational use, behind Uruguay.
Of course, many US states have already legalised recreational marijuana, including California, but nations are more reluctant to push it quickly.
Despite the bill passing, there were some objections to the new law with certain politicians and groups voicing social and economic concerns on the potential impact of legal marijuana. However, with Canadians spending £3.4bn in 2015 on cannabis, it’s become an issue which Justin Trudeau needed to address.
How will it work?
The Canadian government have stressed just how important it is to make sure that, with this bill passing, the marijuana industry within the nation needs to be controlled and regulated to not allow abuse of the system and cause harm to society.
Canadians will be able to buy marijuana and their oils, as long as it’s grown by licensed producers, both online and on the high street. They’ll also be able to grow up to four plants at home.
The bill states that citizens over the age of 18 (some provinces choosing the age 19) will be able to possess up to 30 grams of dried cannabis in public at once. It also states that edibles won’t be available straight away, but can expect them to be sold within the first year.
Smoking cannabis in Canada won’t be as free as expected. Provinces will have control over how it’s sold, where it’s smoked, how it’s consumed within their jurisdiction. The federal government also have set some rules for producers to use little branding and include strict health warnings (similar to cigarettes). Marketing of the legal marijuana will also be very restrictive and producers will need to be careful to avoid prosecution or fines.
What will the Canadian Government not allow?
As massive as it is that Canada are legalising recreational marijuana, they’re still imposing rules on the public for the industry. It will be illegal to possess over 30 grams of cannabis, purchase from producers and dealers that are unlicensed, and grow more than four plants per household.
If you are caught breaking these rules, you can expect lengthy prison sentences, in some cases up to 14 years. They’re considered harsh, but the Canadian government realise how sensitive the industry is and they want to ensure it’s regulated properly.
Who objected against the bill?
Senator Leo Housakos, based in Quebec, believes that the law will be ‘catastrophic for Canadian generations to come’.
There are beliefs that the bill has been rushed because of Trudeau’s agenda and it has failed to consult indigenous groups and politicians on certain issues.
These issues involve people thinking that the minimum age should be 25 as opposed to 18, the public health impact of legalisation, and the failure to address protection of minors and their access to marijuana.
Why legalise now?
In 2015, the now Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made a campaign promise to legalise recreational marijuana. He believes that Canada’s traditional approach to marijuana and how it’s criminalised have been ineffective.
Public polls have always indicated that the majority of Canadians are in agreement with the move.
For the cannabis industry, this is a major step forwards, as the global shift away from cannabis criminalisation continues.
Going to Canada soon? Now’s the best time to hit some Canadian Weed and Wine Tours in Vancouver, they’re an experience you can’t miss out on.