Canada Legalizes Marijuana, Becoming The Second Country Ever To Do So

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Good news for Canadians that like marijuana: It’s going to be legal. This marks the end of 90 years of cannabis prohibition. Also, Canada is only the second country ever to legalize the plant, according to Vox.

Adults over the age of 18 can possess up to 30 grams of marijuana, and adults can grow up to four plants at home. Marijuana edibles will also be available for sale a year after the law goes into effect, said BuzzFeed News. The sale will also be regulated, both by the federal government and more specifically by each province. Provinces have been given around eight to twelve weeks to implement their licensing and regulation systems.

Notably, Canada previously signed drug treaties that banned legalizing cannabis, but the country forged ahead anyway. Sen. Tony Dean said that it’s “Transformative social policy, I think. A brave move on the part of the government,” detailed NPR.

Some of the reasons cited by lawmakers to legalize cannabis included that “The current approach to cannabis does not work.”

Also, it is aimed at decreasing the power of the black market and criminals, alleviating the workload on the criminal system, and gives the government more power to restrict access of the plant to minors.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau underscored his commitment to legalizing marijuana during his campaign in 2015, and the legislation to make marijuana legal, called the Cannabis Act, was introduced in 2017. The legislation was approved by the House of Commons and Canadian Senate.

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The legalization was expected to be completed by July 1 of Trudeau’s first year in office, but it reportedly took two years for the Cannabis Act to be brought to fruition.

Some provinces, like Quebec, wanted to ban home growing, but the ban was not allowed. According to BuzzFeed, Trudeau said that “One of the strong recommendations by the experts was that we ensure personal cultivation of four plants at home.”

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Canada is not new to marijuana, as the country legalized medical marijuana in 2001, reported RollingStone. There is currently a gray market of dispensaries operating in the country serving medical patients, as a 2016 ruling used vague language regarding the legality of dispensaries.

And some American companies want to get in on the potential revenue stream from legalized cannabis, as noted by NPR.

Peter O’Dowd said that “You’ve got big American alcohol and tobacco companies making investments in Canadian pot firms because they see an opening.”

Another expert said that “We are literally giving the next multibillion-dollar industry … to the Canadians.”