Canada’s First Cannabis-Related Citation Issued One Hour Into Legality By Winnipeg Police

Marijuana
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The recreational use of marijuana was legalized in Canada on October 17, and only an hour into legalization, someone was caught violating one of the rules surrounding its use, CBC is reporting. According to the BBC, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised the country in 2015 that he would be working to legalize marijuana, and his promise came into fruition officially Wednesday. Still, the use of cannabis–which has been available in Canada for medical reasons since 2001– has its limitations.

At approximately 1 a.m., Winnipeg police issued a citation to a person who was observed to be consuming cannabis in their car, resulting in a $672 fine. There are also fines for providing cannabis to someone under the age of 19 or using the plant in public. Gord Spado of the Winnipeg Police Service confirmed that one of his officers gave out the ticket.

“An hour into legality, and something illegal,” Spado was quoted as saying.

Spado also reported that the timing of the incident suggests that the marijuana was likely purchased illegally. Online sales started at 12:01 a.m. and people were not going to be receiving their orders by 1 a.m.

“It doesn’t look like anything was pursued as far as the illicit component of it goes,” he said. “I think that’s just the education piece of our members, knowing where to go with that. It’s still new to us, too, right, so we’re still learning.”

Canadians are among the world’s heaviest cannabis users, and Trudeau argued that criminalizing the plant was clearly not effective. By legalizing it, Canada hopes it’ll be easier to keep track of minors who are doing drugs or criminals attempting to sell them. In addition, it is estimated that the sale of cannabis will result in $400 million a year in tax revenues.

As of now, cannabis oil, seeds, plants, and dried cannabis are available for purchase, but edibles–food with cannabis in it–are expected to also be legally sold within the year. Spado pointed out that the legal sale of edibles might actually make it easier for police to identify if someone has some in their car.

“If somebody has an edible in a car and we can prove it, that’s also an offense,” Spado said. “Sometimes we can [prove it], sometimes we can’t. And when edibles are legally produced commercially, then it might be a little bit easier, because there’ll be packaging and things like that that might be visible.”

Canada is the second country to legalize the recreational use of cannabis, with Uruguay being the first.