Although it may have not been an easy concept for some federal lawmakers to sink their teeth into, Canada has officially legalized recreational marijuana. The passing of the Cannabis Act is being hailed as a “historic” move in the realm of international cannabis reform.
On Tuesday, the northern nation became the second country in the world to pass legislation (C-45) designed to bring marijuana out of the underground and into the hands of legitimate commerce. The measure was put on the table to make good on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s campaign pledge to prevent children from gaining easy access to the herb and bring down criminal activity. It was a tense negotiation that took a little over a year to bring to fruition
The Canadian government previously said that recreational marijuana sales would launch in the summer of 2018, but there have been some setbacks. Now that the law has been passed at the federal level, individual provinces and territories have said they will need up to 12 weeks to iron out the regulations at the local level.
Canada is expected to have an official release date for recreational pot sales in early September.
“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,” Trudeau tweeted.
What it all comes down to is marijuana will now be taxed and regulated in a manner similar to alcohol across the country. Adults 18 and older will have the freedom to possess up to 30 grams of weed in public. In some provinces, however, the legal age for pot possession has been set at 19. There will also be a retail market that will allow citizens of the legal age to purchase marijuana from area dispensaries, and home cultivation of up to four plants will be permitted in each household. The rules will vary depending on the jurisdiction.
But just because marijuana is now legal doesn’t mean that the government will turn a blind eye to those who do not follow the rules. Possession of over 30 grams, growing more than four plants and driving stoned are all violations of the law that will come with stiff fines and jail time. Anyone caught selling marijuana to minors can be put in prison for up to 14 years.
Of course, the passing of the nation’s recreational marijuana law has set the cannabis industry at full throttle. Some of the recent statistics from Deloitte shows national pot sales could hit $5 billion in 2019. Once the sale of edible pot products is permitted later next year, those figures could reach $22 billion.
But will the Canadians shift in pot policy inspire the United States to move forward with similar legislation. That remains to be seen. A recent piece from Forbes suggests that it is still too early to bet on nationwide legalization in the Land of the Free.