Just three days ago, on Tuesday, June 19, Canada legalized marijuana for recreational purposes.
The Canadian parliament voted the law on the legalization of marijuana for recreational purposes (52 votes in favor, against -29).
Thus, Canada has become the second country in the world after Uruguay, where it is possible to use cannabis for recreation. Most probably in September, Canadian residents (18+) will be able to legally hold up to 30 grams of marijuana and grow up to four cannabis plants in one household.
When did marijuana become illegal?
It all started in 1923 – the year marijuana became illegal in Canada. It was not until 78 years later, in 2001, the law was changed, marijuana was legalized only for medical purposes.
17 years later, the legalization of marijuana for recreational purposes followed suit. On Thursday, 21st June, Mrs. Julie Payette, the Governor General of Canada and Queen Elizabeth II representative, presided over a Royal Assent ceremony for several bills including the Cannabis Act. It is likely that there will be approximately 3 months of wait, as a grace period is required so that local entities (provincial authorities, security services, and suppliers/hemp sellers) can adapt to the newly introduced changes.
If everything goes as planned, in September Canadians will be able to purchase marijuana, its cannabis or seedlings, but only from licensed producers/sellers.
Restrictions will also include certain age groups, as cannabis products will only be purchased by adults (19 years of age), although, in some provinces, adulthood is set at 18 years (Quebec & Alberta)
What is prohibited and allowed?
Like I said earlier, adults will be able to carry up to 30 grams of dried hemp, and within one household will be able to breed a maximum of 4 plants. It does not change the fact that it will still be illegal to have the amount of cannabis exceeding what is allowed by law.
Getting marijuana from unlicensed sellers will also be seen as contradicting the assumptions of the Cannabis Act (Bill C-45)
You will face severe punishments for all offenses. For example, the sale of hemp to a minor can end with a 14-year prison sentence.
Side effects and health warnings
Nevertheless, to raise public awareness of possible cannabis side effects, relevant information and warnings will be placed on the marijuana packaging and its products.
Advertising or other forms of product presentation that would encourage unauthorized persons to use marijuana will also be prohibited.
The act itself gives the proverbial “free hand” to local entities because each province of Canada will be able to regulate separately issues related to marijuana, including its sale or prohibition of its use in specific places of public space.
Justin Trudeau promise kept
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who promised to increase the availability of marijuana for the average citizen, as part of the election campaign. In a message published on Twitter, he wrote:
The Canadian Prime Minister has repeatedly emphasized that the current regulations regarding marijuana are too outdated, which is why they are not really fully respected.
Do you know that Canada has the largest population of Cannabis users per capita? In 2015 alone, Canadians spent about 4.5 billion Canadian dollars on marijuana, and it is currently estimated that the sales revenues of licensed cannabis products could increase by up to 58%.
It is worth mentioning that the vast majority of Canadians supported the legalization of marijuana.