IT IS HERE. THE DAY HAS ARRIVED. CANNABIS IS LEGAL IN CANADA!
The Great White North could find itself in a great white puff of pot smoke as Canada makes history by legalizing cannabis.
What started as an election promise by Justin Trudeau in 2015, before he was prime minister, has led to Canada becoming the second country in the world to legalize the production, sales and distribution of recreational cannabis. Uruguay broke the mold in December 2013 but Canada is the first country in the G20 to move forward with cannabis legalization.
The prime minister placed the responsibility of selling, distributing and regulating marijuana under provincial and territorial governments, who will also be reaping the profits of pot sales, making Canada the world’s largest marketplace for pot stock.
If you wish to consume cannabis in Canada, you could face legal trouble if you fail to follow the rules.
Each province and territory has their own plans for allowing Canadians to legally purchase and consume cannabis, but the differences are key. For example, most provinces allow pot growing in households, but that’s not permitted in Quebec. Most jurisdictions say 30 grams is the limit for personal possession, yet in Quebec, up to 150 grams per person is permissible. British Columbia will allow consumption anywhere that tobacco is allowed, but you can only light up on private property while in Yukon.
As of Wednesday at 8 a.m. ET, the Ontario Cannabis Store website was down after going live at midnight. The government-run online retailer is currently the only legal for avenue for pot purchasing in Canada’s most populous province.
The overwhelming demand for marijuana had been a concern for some wishing to purchase the drug legally. Some economists had warned before legalization that a lack of pot producers in the country could lead to shortages.
In 2015, Justin Trudeau’s Liberals ran on a federal election platform that included legalizing marijuana for all Canadians. While the New Democrats offered to decriminalize cannabis, the Liberals were the only major party in Canadian history to make pot legalization a pillar of public policy.
The Liberals argued their plan would keep marijuana away from children, ease the burden on the criminal justice system and get profits out of the hands of criminals.
The platform was part of the reason why Trudeau’s Liberals won a majority government mandate on Oct. 19, 2015.
Trudeau has angled the argument for pot legalization as a way to eliminate the black market for sales, which he says has made it easier for children to buy marijuana than it is to purchase alcohol.
“There’s no black market for beer,” the prime minister said in April 2017. “There’s no black market for alcohol.”
He’s also acknowledged the government’s plan has taken inspiration from the U.S. where recreational marijuana is now approved in nine states.
“We’ve been able to go down and learn from their successes, their failures that has definitely helped inform how we’re going to move forward on a legalization framework,” Trudeau said.