Smoking, possessing, and growing cannabis will no longer be a criminal offense across the nation of Canada thanks to the approval of a legalization bill by the Senate this past Tuesday. The bill passed with a vote of 52-29. As of today, the bill has been given royal assent, the final step in the Canadian legislative process. While it is officially passed, the law does not take effect until October 17th so don’t become careless and be aware you can still be charged with a crime. The regulation of cannabis will be done in a much different way then it has been done in individual U.S. states. One of these differences is the minimum age required to legally consume and purchase the plant. The federal government has set the age at 18, but provinces can set some of their own unique rules and many are expected to add another year to that federal requirement. Canadian officials argue that setting the age too high will encourage many young adults who will use cannabis regardless to seek out their weed from the black market. Youth consumption rates in Canda are among the highest in the world, and they believe that setting a similar age to the states will only encourage criminal organizations.
When it comes to possession limits the maximum amount a person can possess is 30 grams. While an oz is a decent amount for personal use, setting magical limits is kind of a ridiculous practice. You aren’t allowed to only have 30 cans of beer per person. Every state so far has also set their own unique limits in the U.S. The cool thing about the legislation in Canada is there is no possession limit within a private dwelling. This is a key addition to the law because growing the 4 allowed plants will provide much more than 30 grams of usable cannabis and that’s not taking into consideration leftovers from the last harvest.
Another aspect of the law that makes it unique is the idea of mail order weed. This is already a practice in the medical marijuana industry for registered patients. Soon it will become available for recreational users as well. To protect against youth accessing marijuana, it will not be delivered unless someone is home and able to show I.D. for the package. There aren’t any specific details regarding how much can be ordered at a time but it can be assumed that it’s the possession limit of 30 grams. It will be interesting to see how popular this method of purchase will become in comparison to the retail shops that will also be dispensing marijuana. The convenience of a quick delivery could cause the same problems Amazon has caused for retail shopping giants.
Altogether the Parliment did a good job drafting a well thought out piece of legislation. They thought about many different factors when drafting the rules with the main one being protecting the youth. Limiting advertising and lowering the legal age of consumption are just two of the steps they have taken to eliminate the damage from years of prohibition. The only thing that wasn’t mentioned in the bill that I would have liked to see included would be the expungement of records for those previously convicted of cannabis possession or cultivation crimes. This will likely be something that happens in the future after the law takes effect but it is a crucial step nonetheless.