Canada Legalizes Recreational Marijuana

Ellie Poppler

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On October 16th 2018, recreational marijuana was legalized in the nation of Canada. Canada is now the second nation in the entire world that has fully legalized this plant after Uruguay did so in 2013. The bill states that adults may carry and share up to thirty grams of legal marijuana in public and will also be allowed to cultivate and grow up to four plants in their households for various reasons. The new federal regulations set the minimum purchase age at 18 years old. This is good news for past criminals, because authorities will soon announce plans to pardon Canadians who have been convicted for possession of thirty grams or less of marijuana. Experts are saying that this is the beginning of a national experiment that will change Canada socially, economically and culturally. 

This is a very controversial issue that has been debated all over the world, especially here in the United States. More and more countries are changing their laws regarding marijuana and usage, and every law that is changed is in favor of the use of marijuana, either legalizing it for medical or recreational use, or decriminalizing it meaning cutting down on charges and the punishment revolving having it or using it. The US has nine states that have legalized marijuana for recreational use to date, and thirty that have legalized it for medical use. More states have opened up the discussion of possibly changing their laws in regards to marijuana, showing the influence of Canada’s decision to legalize. 

There are many reasons why Canada has decided the legalization of marijuana is beneficial for society. One of the reasons is the effect of the country’s black markewhich has made it easier to acquire marijuana despite the fact that it was illegal. This led to criminals profiting greatly because of the high demand for the illegal drug. The legalization of it will also make sure that what people know the marijuana they purchase is the real substance, rather than getting something that is laced, fake, or possibly a danger for people to use. This means there are still going to be strict rules surrounding the purchase and use of marijuana. Anyone that is caught consuming marijuana is expected to have bought it from retailers or federally licensed producers. 

The legalization of marijuana also means that Canada will be altering their impaired driving laws. Even though the substance is now legal, driving while high is not. Impaired driving is the leading criminal cause of death and injury in Canada.  This means that the laws surrounding driving under the influence of cannabis are going to be stronger and consist of more severe punishments.  It is also a law that when you are entering or leaving Canada, it is illegal to have marijuana with you, and possession of the substance could result in criminal charges. There will also be stiff penalties for those caught selling marijuana to minors.

It will be exciting to see what will happen in the near future, and learn if this decision will affect other countries and their processes in changing the laws regarding marijuana. There are going to be many economic and social changes in Canada and only time will tell if this decision will truly benefit the country.