Much like the rest of the world, Canada had a ban on cannabis and imposed criminal penalties on those who used it. However, Canada has recently joined the rather short list of countries that have legalized the purchase and use of cannabis, thus ending a 95-year ban on this psychoactive substance.
The regulations of the law were published in July and the law itself came into force in October. The land of maple syrup, hockey, and notorious kindness was not as comfortable with marijuana back in the day as it is today. 1908 was the year when drug prohibition began, and in 1922 marijuana made it on the list of prohibited substances.
The surprising and somewhat ironic thing is that not much attention was paid to cannabis during the first half of the twentieth century and even after that. The fact that only two percent of all drug arrests made in Canada had to do with cannabis wasn’t exactly speaking volumes about a critical widespread abuse.
During the course of the 1960s and 1970s, cannabis’ popularity rose along with criminal charges which led to a recommendation of removing penalties for cannabis possession. Unfortunately, this recommendation remained only that and the law hadn’t changed. Things took a turn for the better in 2001 when Canada started a medical marijuana program.
The medicinal use of cannabis and the subsequent legalization had a strong foothold within the public perception of this drug. Since 1997 a growing majority expressed that smoking marijuana should not be a criminal offense. The support for marijuana reached its peak in 2016 when a poll showed that 7 in 10 Canadians were in favor of legalization.
As mentioned, the legalization came in the form of The Cannabis Act on October 17, 2018. The Act sets out the rules of how cannabis is distributed and sold within provinces and territories with the emphasis of the operation and the location of the stores which sell it and how it can be sold. Alberta and Quebec are the only two provinces where the legal age for buying weed is 18, whereas the legal age in other provinces is 19.
Additionally, the public possession limit in all provinces is 30 grams of legal cannabis, dried or equivalent in non-dried form. As for the place of purchase, that depends on the province. Weed can be legally bought in either government-operated stores, online, by phone, or in private licensed stores. Moreover, each province and territory has its own excise stamp for legal cannabis products.
The Cannabis Act
The Cannabis Act is extremely precise and detailed and as such lays out numerous regulations concerning prohibitions, criminal activities, promotion, packaging, and labeling, selling and distribution, licenses and permits, inspections, just to name a few.
Taking into consideration that Canada is our northern neighbor with whom we share a border, both U.S. and Canadian citizens must be aware of the other country’s laws.
Canadians who travel to the U.S.
Canadians who travel to the U.S. are reminded that weed is still illegal under U.S. federal law and that they can be denied entry if previous use of cannabis is discovered. Some issues arise for U.S. citizens traveling to Canada, namely, they will be met with questions about pot possession upon arriving at the border.
We have already mentioned that the legal amount of weed for an individual to possess is 30 grams, and that is also the amount individuals can share among themselves. When it comes to buying weed or cannabis oil, it is available at provincially-licensed retailers, or online from federally-licensed producers in provinces where the retail framework is not regulated.
For those Canadians who have a green thumb, they can grow their own cannabis from a licensed seed or seedlings, and they are legally allowed to have 4 plants per residence for personal use.
Those individuals who enjoy cannabis products in the form of food or drinks can make it at home so long as they don’t use organic solvents to create concentrated products. If that doesn’t get you in the mood for baking, I don’t know what will.
Finally, pot users who aren’t well versed in the culinary art and like to buy a finished product, edibles and concentrates will be legal for sale one year from October 17, 2018. Another important thing worth knowing when it comes to the allowed amount a person may possess is that equivalents have been developed for cannabis products so as to know what the respective limit possession would be.
One gram of dried cannabis is equal to 5 grams of fresh cannabis; 15 grams of the edible product; 70 grams of liquid product; 0,25 grams of concentrates (solid or liquid), and finally, 1 cannabis plant seed. If you ever find yourself in Canada, bear in mind the age restrictions.
It is illegal to sell or provide weed to any individual under the age of 18 or 19, depending on the province you are in. The Cannabis Act is evidently a comprehensive piece of legislation and as such covers all the bases. Hopefully, it will prove its worth and serve as a template for all those countries whose citizens are in favor of legalizing cannabis.