From Prohibition to Legalization
It’s been a long road to re-legalization of cannabis in Canada, but the end of prohibition is near. According to the latest reports, if things stay on track, this miraculous herb will once again be legal to consume for adults without a medical recommendation in the country this summer. With legalization around the corner it’s only natural for people to ask themselves, why was it made illegal in the first place. Here are some facts about cannabis prohibition in Canada that you may not be aware of!
- Cannabis possession was criminalized in 1923
- Some blame it on a book authored by Emily Murphy, a women’s rights activist titled “The Black Candle.”
- Like the U.S., the underlying reason for cannabis criminalization seems to have pertained to immigrants. In Canada’s case, it was in effort to ban Chinese immigrants from entering the country.
- In the 1930s, the RCMP campaigned to destroy any hemp plants still being cultivated.
- In 1969 amendments were made the laws in Canada that made it so that law enforcement officers could choose a civil conviction rather than a criminal one for low-level cannabis offenders.
To learn more about the history of how cannabis became criminalized in Canada, check out the story here titled “How Pot-Smoking Became Illegal in Canada.”
Legalization is Just Around the Corner
On March 22nd, the “The Cannabis Act” also known as Bill C-45 passed a second reading in the Canadian Senate with a 44-29 vote. The third and final hearing on this bill will be in June. As Neil Closner, the Chairman of the Cannabis Canada Board stated;
“This vote is one step closer toward the creation of a regulated adult consumer use system that keeps cannabis away from kids and profits away from organized crimes.”
Neil knows what’s up! He must have been paying attention to what has really been happening for the last several years as states have rolled out recreational legalization across the United States. He’s also been paying attention in Canada as he knows and has stated;
“Prohibition has failed. Canada has one of the highest rates of cannabis consumption in the world, and a significant number of our citizens are consuming products grown illegally, without any controls or oversight.”
Though laws legalizing the possession and consumption of cannabis by adults in the country were expected to go into effect on July 1st, it may be the end of this summer before retail consumers have legal access to obtain cannabis and cannabis-based products.
It’s Not Without Opposition Though
According to this article published by Leafly, Senator Pierre-Hughes Boisvenu went as far as calling the Cannabis Act “a piece of shit.” He said it wouldn’t protect people or “exclude organized crime.” He said the bill had been written “very badly” and added that it would be “a very good exercise” to rewrite it.
Other representatives made claims that the bill would increase consumption rates, make policing difficult, endanger young people, and that it would do very little to deter the black market. These are all things that have been disproven in states throughout the United States that has chosen to legalize recreational/retail adult-use cannabis.
Obviously, these individuals have not done their research and still have heads filled with reefer madness propaganda. That or they are just ignorant and refuse to educate themselves to the truths of all that this plant has to offer.
Legalization is a Pressing Matter
Legalization is a pressing matter in Hamilton, Ontario. According to a recent report, they have confiscated so much cannabis in recent months from raids on unlicensed dispensaries that they are literally running out of places to store the contraband. Per the Superintendent of Hamilton Ryan Diodati;
“The worst part is that the personnel tasked with dispensary raids have much better things to do with their time. The opioid crisis in Hamilton is twice as severe as it is in most of the rest of Ontario.”
With that being said, the legalization of cannabis could be crucial to fighting the opioid epidemic in Ontario as well as other places in Canada as it will free up resources that are currently being devoted to outdated cannabis laws that are on the verge of being changed.
Congratulations Canada! I can’t wait to see the day that every adult in the country can have safe, legal, reliable access to this miraculous plant!