As of Oct. 17, the Canadian government became the second in the world to legalize the use of recreational marijuana. Canadians can now legally possess up to 30 grams of cannabis on their person, and can grow up to four, one-meter-tall marijuana plants on their property.
The Trudeau government initially aimed for marijuana legalization to occur this past Canada Day (July 1), however, due to the lengthy and thorough legislative processes required for legalization, the date was further delayed to this past Wednesday.
With this major cultural shift comes many questions and concerns for Canadians. Purchasing marijuana is likely to be treated like purchasing alcohol. Depending on the province, Canadians may purchase marijuana from private and online outlets. Individual provinces may set a standard age for legal purchase, permitting the age of the customer is 18 or older. Additionally, marijuana is not to be advertised to children, and more education is set to be provided to youth about the dangers of smoking weed.
But, if there are such consequences that come with the use of weed, why would the Canadian Government think to legalize it?
For numerous reasons.
For one, the risk of Canadians encountering and potentially overdosing from laced marijuana is eliminated. There has been rising concern throughout the country of marijuana being laced with the incredibly potent opioid fentanyl. A dose of a little more than the size of a grain of salt can be potentially fatal. By legalizing, and federally regulating marijuana, Canadians who choose to smoke can be certain of what they are putting into their bodies. Additionally, Canadians are able to purchase marijuana in accordance to its potency (again, similar to alcohol content in certain beverages), meaning they are better informed about the drug they are consuming.
By legalizing marijuana, the Canadian government is also hoping to get a handle on the black market drug trade. Canada even offers an anonymous survey aiming to understand black market drug prices, so that the Canadian government can do their best to match prices for legal weed– all in hopes to discourage Canadians from buying from non-regulated dealers of the drug.
The historic event has spurred quite a party across the country, pot-smokers young and old were found rejoicing over their new freedom. Nonetheless, the issue remains quite controversial and will continue to be seen as such, as Canada settles into this new era of legalization.