Legalization of Marijuana in Canada

Tyler Ory ‘21, Website Editor

In June 2018, The Cannabis Act to legalize Marijuana received royal assent, and as of October 17, 2018, it became legal to use and purchase Marijuana in Canada. The legalization of Marijuana for recreational use has been a polarizing debate in Canada for a while and since 1997, public opinion polls have found that an increasing majority of Canadians agree with the statement, “Smoking marijuana should not be a criminal offense”. (Fraser Institute)

According to CNN, some health care professionals in Canada have said they are afraid of the consequences of legalizing marijuana and the increased availability of the drug to youth. Those who support legalization believe Marijuana is an over stigmatized drug, one that is relatively safe, and has led to many unjust arrests concerning possession and consumption of the drug. Since the decriminalization of Marijuana, Canada has begun to release criminals from prison who have been convicted of Marijuana related offenses.

The Cannabis Act for Canada is paving the way for federal legalization in the United States. Currently, Marijuana consumption is recreationally legal in nine states and medically legal with varying regulations in 38 states. In the past decade, many states have decriminalized Marijuana use and there has been a growing effort pushing for federal legalization of the drug. While the Trump administration does not support federal legalization of the drug, the next presidential election will happen in just two years and it could give the answer as to whether Marijuana will be legal in the entire country in the near future.

Those who support federal legalization in the US argue Marijuana arrests have led to a disproportionate amount of minorities being arrested for Marijuana offenses compared to those who are not people of color, and say Marijuana has been overly stigmatized as it is a relatively safe drug. (CNN)

It is currently unknown whether the US government will ever federally legalize Marijuana, but with Canada’s example and growing support in the country, the legalization of marijuana could happen in the near future.