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Dec 14

Canada On The Verge Of Cannabis Legalisation

Nearly a decade of Conservative rule has been ended after the Liberal party, led by Justin Trudeau, surged to victory in the latest election. After getting the mandate for power from the people Mr Trudeau, the 43-year-old son of late Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, said Canadians had voted for real change. Incumbent Conservative PM Stephen Harper, who had been in power since 2006, has congratulated his rival. Mr Trudeau responded by thanking Mr Harper for his service to the country during his first official speech.

During the 11-week election campaign the Liberal party made multiple promises to the Canadian people, the one I think is relevant to my fellow stoners was when Mr Trudeau said that they would “legalize, regulate and restrict access to marijuana for recreational use in Canada”. This would make Canada the first G7 nation to do so and set them as a front runner in the legalization movement sweeping the globe, hopefully other G7 nations such as the United Kingdom and France will have the courage to follow them.

 

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Canada’s existing medical marijuana scheme, which was perfected by the Conservatives, is considered one of the best in the world and is considered highly efficient and is used as a plan when proposing to legalize marijuana in other countries. However the recreational market is so big that even Canada don’t know how to go about legalization. The market is estimated to be worth around $5 billion a year and would have about seven million customers. Some have seen the appointment of Trudeau as meaning that cannabis is now legal after the pre-election promises made by the Liberal party, however under the new Liberal government there has been multiple police raids on dispensaries and the police are continuing to pursue marijuana related cases.

Currently Canada is home to thousands of people who hold licenses to grow medical marijuana for themselves or a patient for well over a decade, if full legalization goes ahead then they would be replaced by 26 government picked companies who would become the nations sole suppliers of medical marijuana. The police have stated for years that the current system is flawed when it comes to safety, thousands of amateur growers cause potential fire hazards or flood hazards during their grow operations. Armed robbery of grow houses has also been on the rise and police have said that they would prefer the new system were big companies could produce crops at highly secured sites with little chance of robbery or other hazards such as fire.

 

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A study carried out by Forum Research showed that “40 percent of Canadians agree that corporations should be the ones to grow and distribute legal marijuana only through government picked companies. The test group was also asked whether they want consumers to be free to grow their own product and distribute it, under an age restriction. 15 percent said they would be in favor of this model and 17 percent said they would want a combination of the two models; 28 percent said they would not choose either model”.

However prominent figures in the cannabis community such as Marc Emery have suggested that legalization is just a guise for a new wave of prohibition. He said “There’s more to it than it just being ‘legal.’ Handing a monopoly to the licensed producers as they are is unacceptable. These are all people who did not have a hand in supporting our culture. Where were most of them before they got into the business? Everybody has to be able to grow their own, and be in the business without restrictive licenses.”

Personally I have to agree with Marc Emery, marijuana belongs to the people. When will governments realize that they cannot control a plant that occurs naturally on our planet. Prohibition and harsh prison sentences were not enough to stop people growing cannabis so why do the government think they can monopolize an already existing market and use it to make huge profits off their own population.