Awesome news for cannabis enthusiasts in the great white North! As of today the commercial purchase of cannabis for adult recreational use has been legalized across Canada! Joining progressive Uruguay who legalized recreational use back in 2013, Canada has become the second country in the world to do so. Even though medicinal cannabis was legalized back in 2001 it has been a long struggle for our friends up North to legalize recreational use. Eager cannabis enthusiasts around the country began lining up as soon as possible at approved dispensaries late last night in order to take part in the historic event. One fellow from the Newfoundland town of St John’s expressed his excitement about the occasion telling the press that: “It’s been my dream to be the first person to buy the first legal gram of cannabis in Canada, and here I finally am.”
So what exactly are the rules and regulations for adult use recreational cannabis in Canada? For starters adults are now able to purchase cannabis plants, seeds, oils, and related products from approved retailers and can legally possess up to one once (30grams) of cannabis flower while in public. Possession of more than an ounce of cannabis flower or growing more than a total of four cannabis plants has been deemed illegal and carry some rather steep penalties. Unfortunately, cannabis edibles will not be available immediately as a measure to allow the Canadian government enough time to create regulations specific to those types of products has not been allotted. However, edibles should be allowed within the next year of so. The legalization effort will also impact those that have previously been convicted of possessing under an once of cannabis allowing for their pardon applications to be fast-tracked during the review process.
However, not everyone is celebrating this landmark change in government policy as this past Monday the Canadian Medical Association Journal issued an editorial calling recreational legalization: “a national, uncontrolled experiment in which the profits of cannabis producers and tax revenues are squarely pitched against the health of Canadians.” There are also some logistical legal issues that still need to be resolved such as how to deal with impaired driving while under the influence of cannabis. While new rules have been laid out for these types of offenses, the ineffectiveness of current screening technology casts doubt on how successful these regulations will be in the end.
This massive change in Canada’s drug policies has raised some eyebrows here in the US, where cannabis is still very much illegal at a federal level. This led to the US Customs Border Protection Agency issuing a statement on Tuesday stating that their guards will have “broad latitude” with regards to who would be admitted into the country allowing them to ask if the traveler uses cannabis and/or if they plan on using it while in the states. As a result, Canada will be adding signs and information regarding cannabis and relevant regulations at all border crossings and airports.
What are your thoughts on Canada finally legalizing recreational cannabis for adults? Would this change in government policy make you more likely to consider visiting Canada sometime in the near future?