Marijuana possession and use will officially become legal for those 18+ in Canada on Wednesday, with regulated adult sales set to begin in several provinces around the country.
Canada’s parliament approved Bill C-45, known as the Cannabis Act, in June. It creates an overarching national regulatory framework and enables each province to establish its own system of licensing and regulating marijuana businesses. Adults will be allowed to possess up to 30 grams of marijuana, and all products will be sold in plain packaging with clearly marked labels.
Canada is just the second country and the first G7 nation to legalize marijuana for adults at the national level. The first was Uruguay, where legislation was signed into law in December 2013 and a limited number of pharmacies began selling marijuana to adults in July 2017. Nine U.S. states, the District of Columbia, and one U.S. territory, the Northern Mariana Islands, have enacted laws making marijuana legal for adults 21 and older. Eight of those states and the Northern Marianas have also established systems for regulating commercial cultivation and sales.
“Canada is setting a strong example for how to end marijuana prohibition at the national level and replace it with a system of regulated production and sales that is largely governed at the local level” says Steve Hawkins, executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project. “The U.S. and other countries grappling with the complexities of such a significant policy shift will have an excellent opportunity to learn from the Canadian experience.”
Hawkins continues; “The Canadian model is rather similar to what many envision for the U.S., and in many ways it mirrors what is happening here, as states have taken the lead in regulating commercial cannabis activity. The big difference—and it is a critical difference—is the blessing provincial governments have received from their federal government. It is time for Congress to step up and take similar action to harmonize our nation’s …