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Canada legalizes recreational use of marijuana

by Christopher Suarez - Copy Editor
Tue, Oct 30th 2018 09:00 pm
SMOKE FRIENDLY Canada became the second country in the world to legalize marijuana for recreational use. It also became the first of the major powers in the world to legalize the drug.
SMOKE FRIENDLY Canada became the second country in the world to legalize marijuana for recreational use. It also became the first of the major powers in the world to legalize the drug.

The legalization of marijuana has been a key topic of discussion since the 1960s. During the 60s, people in the United States, like the “hippies” glorified marijuana and used it as their symbol of peace and tranquility. Even though the drug was illegal during the time, weed was sensationalized as this magical drug that improves people’s mood, helps them go to sleep and gives them a craving for food. To this day, marijuana still has the same effects on people as it did back in the 60s. The country of Canada has finally taken notice and has legalized marijuana for adult use across the country.

Marijuana’s take-over of mainstream media and popular culture occurred mostly in the United States, but it also had an impression on Canadian culture. According to leafly.com, in 1923, weed was officially deemed illegal across the country. Since it became illegal in 1923, weed grew in popularity during the same time as the United States. With the growth in popularity also came the growth of convictions. Between 1930 and 1946 there were 25 convictions, but in 1962 there were 20 convictions alone.

   The rise of convictions is what led to the country gradually decreasing the consequences of possessing marijuana. The first marijuana decriminalization measure was introduced in 2003 by the liberal government of Jean Chretien. The bill was intended to reduce the possession of up to 15 grams to just a civil fine, but the United States Drug Enforcement Administration made sure the bill died. Just a year later, in 2004, the minority liberal government of Paul Martin introduced a very similar bill to that of Chretien. This time it was Paul Martin’s government that failed and eventually the bill died.

The country then took a step back in legalizing marijuana in 2006 when Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, announced a new national anti-drug strategy. The new strategy would impose a mandatory prison sentence on cannabis dealers who grew more than 500 plants. These dealers would face a minimum of two years in prison. Then in 2013, the Canadian government implemented the Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations (MMPR).

    That regulation would then be changed into the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations after Neil Allard challenged the original regulation. Allard claimed that it was not right for patients needing medical marijuana to have to get it from solely licensed producers. The Federal court would then rule in his favor and officially change the name of the regulation.

 

 

The Cannabis Act was proposed in 2017. This act proposed that the possession, use, cultivation and purchase of limited amounts of marijuana would be legalized for somebody 18 years or older. That same act has now been put into full affect.

This makes Canada the first major world economy to legalize recreational marijuana and only the second country in the world to legalize it for recreational use.

According to The New York Times, British Columbi’s minister of public safety, Mike Farnsworth, is looking at both sides of the legalization.“Legalization of cannabis is the largest public policy shift this country has experienced in the past five decades,” said Farnsworth. “It’s an octopus with many tentacles, and there are many unknowns, I don’t think that when the federal government decided to legalize marijuana it thought through all of the implications.”

Specialist at the Center for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto, Bernard Le Foll, is one who opposes this decision. “Cannabis is not a benign substance … There is a clear risk of addiction, and it can produce significant mental health issues if used by the wrong kind of people,” Dr. Le Foll said. “It took decades for the public to understand the risks of cigarettes, and the legalization of cannabis has taken place only over a few years.”

Despite many who oppose the decision, I feel like the decision is monumental in changing the way big forces think around the world. Canada can now influence countries like the United States, Britain, and others to change the way they look at marijuana.