It’s been a long couple of months for Canada’s Prime Minister. Last year, Justin Trudeau promised his fellow citizens that by the summer of 2018 they’ll be able to enjoy their miracle drug without breaking the law. After a week or so of silence, the politician finally confirmed that the bill C-45 is officially a go.
With that, cannabis legalization in Canada shall proceed as planned.
Here’s everything you need to know about it.
Not Everyone’s Aboard for Legalization
There’s still a lot of those who believe that Canada should not proceed with the legalization of marijuana. Trudeau’s main objectives, as stated numerous times since the bill was proposed, are to eliminate illegal sellers and with that, to protect children. Needless to say, there’s a counter-argument.
Even though practically alone in opposing the legislation, the anti-cannabis group Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM) remains pretty vocal in going against Trudeau’s promises. Legalization will never circumvent organized crime, they firmly believe; it will only make contraband drugs more affordable.
The Policies Differ Among Provinces
Thus far, only one province has passed its marijuana law – Ontario. The rest of Canada is either lagging behind with completing its cannabis policies or is yet to start the process. Another difficulty for law enforcement is that different provinces and territories have employed different policies and solutions.
- How much marijuana will you be allowed to possess?
For example, the federally-mandated limit to how much cannabis a Canadian citizen is allowed to hold in public is 30 grams throughout the country, with the exception of Alberta and Quebec that allow you to keep larger amounts at home. A similar issue arises for how to unify Canada’s legal consuming age.
- How much old will you have to be to smoke cannabis?
While this age limit is the same as the one regulating legal alcohol consumption in a majority of provinces – ranging from 18+ in Alberta and Quebec to 19+ in other territories – Manitoba requires you to be one year older than permitted drinking age in order to consume marijuana legally in public.
- Will smokers actually be able to enjoy pot in public?
Speaking of which, most of Canada’s territories will allow smoking only on private property and in private residences. That is to say, if you want to enjoy a joint in public, you’ll be able to do so only in Alberta, British Columbia, Quebec (with the exception of CEGEP/university campuses) and Northwest.
- Will home cultivation be allowed throughout the country?
If you’re planning to grow cannabis at home in Manitoba or Quebec, you’ll need to move somewhere else, as both of these provinces will treat cultivation as illegal. Everywhere else, you’ll be allowed four marijuana plants per residence. Policies on pot shops also differ across all major Canadian territories.
The Red Flags and Unsolved Issues
With its campaign promise to “legalize, regulate and restrict access to marijuana” being only a few months away from long-expected lawful realization, Canada’s Liberal government is facing a cumbersome question: is our country prepared enough to do it without making the situation worse?
With this in mind, we’ve examined the most obvious red flags and yet-to-be-solved issues:
- Will legal marijuana be as affordable as illegal options?
The supply of legal marijuana will be limited to a few legal providers. If the government agrees upon the higher price than the one currently circulating the illegal cannabis market, or if illegal sellers get room to significantly lower their prices, the entire “protect the children” parole may terribly backfire.
- Will you be allowed to smoke cannabis and drive?
The truth is, Canada is still undetermined when it comes to marijuana-related impaired driving. As bill C-45 moves closer to becoming a law, there is still no government-approved roadside testing method for cannabis, nor is there a consensus on how much time should pass between consuming and driving.
- Will you be allowed to smoke marijuana in the office?
If some provinces will allow you to enjoy cannabis in public, which means in places where tobacco may be smoked, does this imply that legal consumption will also be allowed in your office? This is yet to be determined, along with policies pertaining to a marijuana-related employer and employee rights.
- Will you be allowed to smoke and grow while renting?
Landlords have raised another concern regarding the eventual passing of bill C-45 – the use and cultivation of this drug by tenants that occupy their rentals. This too remains undetermined, though Saskatchewan, Yukon and Northwest Territories plan to allow landlords to ban pot-smoking tenants.
- Will you be allowed to enjoy edible products?
Sorry to disappoint you, but candies and packaged goodies with marijuana inside will not be commercially available in the upcoming months. We’re looking at one year more after the bill becomes the law, and that’s at least. Instead of edibles, you’ll get to enjoy both dry products and oil.
Looking Forward to Cannabis Legalization
All facts and opinions considered, it seems that Canada is doing a right thing. Sure, there’s still a long road ahead of Trudeau and the government, and some obstacles will be a challenge to overcome, but let’s ask ourselves this: presuming that it delays the process due to unsolved issues, can we honestly say that the country will be more ready to proceed the next year? Will Canada ever be ready for pot?
A new poll finds that a whopping 39% of Canadian citizens are looking forward to smoking legal marijuana this summer. We’re obviously talking about a country with millions of cannabis enthusiasts who are currently breaking the state law. Isn’t it about time for them to be protected from unregulated products and suppliers by their own country? And, for their children to grow in a more liberal Canada?
Ahead of us is a long and turbulent period of adjustment, at least that much is for certain.
Hopefully, everything will come about exactly as planned.