Why Canada legalized marijuana?
The news resonated with newspapers, magazines and TV news all around the world. After Uruguay, now Canada as well has officially legalized the recreational use of marijuana since Wednesday 17th October. The ardour was such that the first stores decided to open at the stroke of midnight and customers did not delay, overcrowding the stores until they run out of products.
As Italian operators of the sector, we are still taking the first steps towards the acceptance of the cannabis light business and we look with great interest to what is happening overseas to understand better how effectively the full legalization could affect the economy and society of our country. In other words, for Italians Canada (certainly closer to Italy for customs and traditions than Uruguay) could be a pilot project that could provide valid data on the real effects of the full legalization of cannabis.
How the process of legalization of marijuana in Canada began
It was not until last June that the Canadian Parliament was positive about the recreational use of marijuana, but the legislative process that led to the final acceptance was much longer and more complex. What made the difference was the determination of the current Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who even during the electoral campaign of 2015, proposed a revision of the laws on cannabis, too restrictive and ineffective in any case as a deterrent (given the very high consumption in the country despite the illegality factor).
The new Canadian law on marijuana for recreational use
To date, every province and local Canadian administration has different ways of applying the law regarding sales and consumption. In fact, some companies have decided to set stricter rules, for example on the types of stores that can sell products or on free consumption in public places. The population of the various districts has been informed about what is legal and what is not. For now, inhabitants do not seem particularly confused and they are still enthusiastic about being able to buy dried or fresh inflorescences, seeds, oils and many other products. Overall, the same limits for everyone are the age over 18, a maximum dose allowed of 30 grams and a maximum of 4 plants per dwelling. In this climate of tolerance, however, the penalties for selling to minors (up to 14 years of prison) and for illegal businesses have been exacerbated, with the aim of eliminating the black market of cannabis.
Positive repercussions within one year of legalization
The new law that regulates the possession and sale of marijuana has been promoted by the Canadian government as an instrument of control over products (on security and safety), and an act of income for the state, in the form of taxation. In fact, government budgets have an estimated total revenue of about 400 million Canadian dollars per year or almost 270 million euros.
So far, no negative consequences have been reported in Uruguay or in those countries in the United States that have approved the consumption of marijuana (for example California). The Canadian government is operating an amnesty for people convicted of possession of marijuana under what is now considered the legal limit, making a significant reduction in the work and costs of the courts and detention centres.
We are therefore waiting for the beneficial effects of consumption, for the protection of privacy and for the legalization of cannabis.