Canada becomes second country to legalize marijuana, and also creates pathway to pardon past drug offenders
The Canadian House of Commons and Senate approved the legalization of marijuana in June. On Oct. 18, the law finally went into effect and not only did stores start selling recreational marijuana, those with past pot convictions were also pardoned.
The Canadian government stated in a press release, “The current approach to cannabis does not work. It has allowed criminals and organized crime to profit, while failing to keep cannabis out of the hands of Canadian youth… That is why the Government of Canada, after extensive consultation with law enforcement, health and safety experts, and the hard work of the Task Force on Cannabis Legalization and Regulation, today introduced legislation to legalize, strictly regulate and restrict access to cannabis.”
It’s been too easy for our kids to get marijuana – and for criminals to reap the profits. Today, we change that. Our plan to legalize & regulate marijuana just passed the Senate. #PromiseKept
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) June 20, 2018
The government will supervise the drug’s production and enforce regulations on the public. The law allows adults over the age of 18 to possess less than 30 grams of marijuana. They will also be able to grow up to four marijuana plants at home. However, provinces can impose stricter rules.
A Deloitte report concludes that the Canadian industry for recreational use of Cannabis will produce an estimated $7 billion by 2019. When asked how the tax revenues made by the cannabis industry will be used by Canada, former Deputy Prime Minister Anne McLellan told Here and Now in a September interview, “Those revenues, at least in the early years, that come to the government of Canada, will be used for further research for addiction treatment, for mental health resources and treatment, and for public education, because we all agree, and we heard when we visited states in the U.S. that have legalized [cannabis], it’s really important to get out and educate your public — especially your youth — early and to keep educating.”
According to Canada’s Department of Justice, the legalization of marijuana has overreaching implications in prison reform as most police drug arrests involve marijuana. Canada will allow those with past cannabis convictions to apply for a pardon with no required fee and waiting period.
Global News reports that Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale stated in a Wednesday press conference, “It becomes a matter of basic fairness when older laws from a previous era are changed.”
Canada is the second country to legalize marijuana after Uruguay did it in 2013.