Bill C-45, known as the Cannabis Act, was approved by the Canadian Senate on Tuesday. It was previously passed by the House of Commons. C-45 legalizes marijuana possession, home growing and sales to adults. It is still a crime to sell cannabis to a minor, and the federal government will oversee such sanctions/boundaries. Governments of provinces will manage sales and distribution.
To date, nine states in the U.S. have legalized marijuana for recreational use, and 29 states allow it for medicinal purposes.
The black market of marijuana—just like any black market in the drug trade—has incited violence and conflicts around the world. Legalizing the drug takes power away from cartels and other criminals, while creating several new, legitimate jobs. That part’s a win-win.
“We will legalize, regulate, and restrict access to marijuana,” declared Canada’s Liberal Party online. “Canada’s current system of marijuana prohibition does not work. It does not prevent young people from using marijuana and too many Canadians end up with criminal records for possessing small amounts of the drug.”
Marijuana is not without its risks: it can be habit-forming and if abused it can harm mental health. But it’s never been linked concretely to more serious problems like lethal overdoses. Marijuana is significantly less likely than alcohol, about tenfold, to cause serious accidents.
Last July, Uruguay became the first nation to legalize marijuana. Drug-related crime has plummeted.
Sales of marijuana in Canada should begin in within weeks.