Canada Gets It Right: Cannabis Legalization Coming Soon


Earlier this year Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada announced that his government would be passing The Cannabis Act otherwise known as Bill C-45. This Bill will come into effect as of Oct. 17, approximately 4 weeks later than initially promised. Some Liberal Party supporters believe it was to give Provinces more time to place and adjust. Opponents, however, believe the delay was a political ploy so that the passing of the act would reach its first anniversary around the time of the next federal election. The majority of Canadians are just happy that it’s passing at all.

Before everyone gets excited though there are things to consider. First and foremost, this will still be a controlled substance similar to alcohol and tobacco. That means there will be many different restrictions in play as far as its possession, usage, etc. Persons under 18 will not be able to legally consume, purchase, or possess marijuana. Driving high will still be a crime with steep penalties, households will have a limit of no more than four plants that can be grown (the seeds for which must be purchased within the legally applicable system), and the unregulated distribution will remain illegal in Canada.

Additionally, the federal government has allowed for the provinces and territories (the equivalent of states in Canada) to oversee the regulations of where can sell it, minimum age of consumption (as long as it is above the federal minimum of 18), where it can be consumed, and how much you can possess at one time. Federally the maximum that an adult can possess or share with other adults is 30 grams of dried, legally obtained cannabis or equivalent in other forms (such as edibles).

At present all provinces except for Alberta and Quebec will be raising the minimum consumption age to 19+. Provinces are split on where you can smoke it as roughly half have banned the usage in public spaces while British Columbia, Northwest Territories, Alberta, Nunavut, and Nova Scotia are (for the most part) only including the same restrictions as are already in place on tobacco. Manitoba and Quebec have placed their own bans on growing at home while most other provinces in Canada have decided to follow the federal guideline.

The most interesting piece is the sales component. Many are going for a mixture of public and private. Some provinces are only allowing the sale via government owned and regulated storefronts similar to Ontario’s L.C.B.O. Others are opening provincially owned stores, but also drafting licensing for private enterprise to sell alongside the public sector (under their regulations of course). Some like Ontario where I reside are going for full privatization leaving control of distribution to the market as far as the retail locations are concerned. In Ontario the supplier side will be a government controlled online ordering center.

Canada is the second country to go for full marijuana legalization after Uruguay. Canada is also anticipating a booming tourist boost from our neighbors from the south due to the legalization, similar to the 19-year-olds that come over to take advantage of our lower drinking ages. For Americans: the carrying of the product across the border will remain as illegal now as it has been thus far, even if you are traveling to a state that has legalized. Doing so may result in you being unable to return to your own country, or being banned from re-entry to ours. At absolute worse, you could be facing drug trafficking charges for making the attempt. So while you’re welcome to cross on over to light one up, you’ll need to finish whatever you buy while on our side of the imaginary line.

Read more articles from Killian on Think Liberty here.


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