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Exploring Canada’s Cannabis Act

Introduced by the Liberal government of Justin Trudeau shortly after the Canadian prime minister’s improbable election victory in the fall of 2015, the Cannabis Act was recently approved by the Senate. On October 17, 2018, Bill C-45 was enacted and Canada became the first G7 nation to legalize recreational cannabis at the federal level. [1]

Nothing short of revolutionary, Bill C-45 is the answer to almost a century of rule by draconian drug policy that has forever lumped cannabis in the same class as drugs like cocaine and, particularly, opium. Not only has Canada come to embrace cannabis for medical use over the last near-20 years, it has also made an unprecedented move when cannabis became legal across the country. 

Rules continue to apply
Common perception may be that recreational cannabis regulation will translate to irresponsible consumption patterns. With Bill C-45, however, that picture isn’t likely to develop. Cannabis use will only be allowed in personal residences, where four plants can be grown per household, and personal possession will be limited to 30 grams per individual.
Power to the provinces
While supply of recreational cannabis will be regulated by the federal government, each province is to be responsible for setting the terms of distribution. Where mid-western provinces have all opted for private retailers and online sales, Ontario and others, like Nova Scotia, will sell cannabis in public outlets, as well as online.
What does it all mean?
Canada’s Cannabis Act has translated to a multitude of new consumers entering the budding cannabis marketplace. Figures show that anywhere from 10-12 million Canadians are looking to purchase recreational cannabis. Perhaps even more significant is what the Canadian model could, if successful, mean for other countries around the world currently considering reforms to outdated cannabis laws.

  1. “Bill C-45.” https://openparliament.ca/bills/42-1/C-45/

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