Arthur J. Villasanta – Fourth Estate Contributor
Toronto, Canada (4E) – Weed’s now legal up North. The sale and personal use of recreational marijuana or cannabis became legal in Canada yesterday (Oct. 17), making Canada only the second country in the world after Uruguay to take this historic step
Media reported the first recreational cannabis to be legally bought in Canada was purchased at 02:30 GMT Wednesday on Newfoundland, the most easterly Canadian province where Canada’s day begins. The first legal purchases of cannabis went to Nikki Rose and Ian Power, who were among the hundreds of people who waited in line to buy marijuana.
Canada’s “Cannabis Act, Bill C-45” that provides for the legalization of recreational marijuana was passed by both the House of Commons of Canada and the Senate of Canada on June 18, 2018. It says anyone in Canada over the age of 18 is allowed to possess marijuana, provided it’s less than 30 grams, or just over one ounce. Canadians can also grow up to four marijuana plants in their home and buy weed from a provincially regulated retailer.
After the approval by Parliament, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted: “It’s been too easy for our kids to get marijuana – and for criminals to reap the profits. Today, we change that. Our plan to legalize & regulate marijuana just passed the Senate.”
Legalizing recreational marijuana use should be a boon to law enforcement. The Department of Justice says most of the drug offenses reported to police around the country involve weed.
C-45 also provides for the government of Canada to oversee production and manufacturing of recreational weed. Provincial and municipal governments have control over wholesaling, and will also be able to set impose as regards public consumption. In provinces with no a regulated retail framework, Canadians can purchase marijuana online from a federally licensed producer with “secure home delivery.”
The government’s early estimates of marijuana use ranges from 650,000 to 900,000 tons on an annual basis. A U.S. financial services firm estimates the Canadian marijuana market will exceed US$7 billion by 2019.
Last week, Trudeau said he would look into pardons for Canadians convicted of cannabis possession. Prior to the new law, simple possession of cannabis was punishable by fines of up to C$1,000 and six months in prison.
Uruguay legalized recreational cannabis in December 2013 under former President Jose Mujica. By legalizing recreational cannabis use, Uruguay hoped to reduce the profits drug trafficking creates for organized crime. Legalization also intends to slash the drug-related violence and mitigate the social problems associated with cannabis use.
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