Canada Becomes the Second Country to Officially Legalize Pot

On 17 October, Canada will be the second country to legalize the use of recreational cannabis as it is removing its ban on the drug. Once the ban is lifted, the drug will be available for adult consumption from federally licensed producers.

Canada has one of the highest rate of cannabis consumption in the world. The estimated amount spent on the drug is CAD $5.7bn which relates to $1,200 per user. Most of the spending was done on black market marijuana and mostly by young people.

Here’s a look at how the legalization of this drug will affect the country.


With the legalization of cannabis, number of cases are expected to be seen in court. As Bill Bogart, Legal expert on Drugs and Legalization, has said, “While we’re moving away from a regime of prohibition, we’re at the same time moving towards a very detailed framework of regulation.” Which means, interest groups will more than likely be challenging exploiting the grey areas and regulatory details of this framework.

The challenge this poses to police officers is one of the key issues. How will the officers be able to assess drug-impaired drivers with drunk-drivers? As the reliability of the technology to detect THC (Tetrahydrocannibinol), the psychoactive cannabis compound is already being challenged.

Bill Bogart has also predicted challenges to the rules on edible cannabis products, as well as employment issues such as medical cannabis at work. Meanwhile, some police forces have suggested the use of saliva testing device on roadside, which has been authorized by the federal government though the device may face problems during cold weather.

Landlords and Provinces

As cannabis will soon be legalized and under federal law be able to cultivate limited quantities at home, has landlords worried about damages that will arise from personal cultivation and smoke related annoyances. With a major landlord saying he would block smoking and cultivating cannabis in all its buildings.

Not only landlords but some provinces have also set rules where a person can consume cannabis, resulting in creation of patchworks of regulations across the country. For instance, Ontario has allowed a person to smoke cannabis where “tobacco” is allowed. While, public consumption is prohibited in New Brunswick, Saskatchewan, Newfoundland and Labrador, restricting some tenants for the use of drugs.

Global brands

As the legalization of cannabis is coming close, analysts have suggested the consumer pot market will be around $4.2bn – $8.7bn ranging from 3.4m and 6m people using it in the first year. Since the market is set to grow big, business giants are not hesitant in investing as the stigma fades.

With such big numbers, major corporates appear to be showing interests.

Coca-Cola has already begun talks with Aurora Cannabis, Canadian licensed producer, exploring ways to infuse marijuana in beverages. Additionally, Constellation Brands, owner of Corona beer, is investing with Canopy growth for the production of non-alcoholic cannabis beverages.

Small Cannabis producers

With big corporations jumping into the cannabis market and taking over, small-scale cultivators are will now be facing problems.

According to some advocates, the “craft” producers can help in securing a suitable retail supply of recreational cannabis and at the same time curb illegal production. Though they will still face some hurdles along the away which include financing, restrictions, land use and zoning.

For the promotion of diversifying cannabis marketplaces, Canada has taken steps in creating “micro-cultivator” and “micro-processing” licenses and is currently fiddling with issuance of licenses to people with minor nonviolent cannabis charges.
Cannabis researchers

There is still much we haven’t learned about cannabis and its effect on our body.

In Canada, research on cannabis, due to lack of funding and restrictions on the drug has been focused more on the dangers of the drug and has been hamstrung for being a “controlled substance”. Although, medical marijuana has been legal since 2001.

Now, with the legalization of cannabis, it will increase investment and research looking into the benefits and harms of the drug on, mental health, pregnancy, treatment of PTSD, pain management and neurodevelopment.

Justin Trudeau’s promise

During his campaign trial in 2015, Justin Trudeau vowed that his government would work on a policy to legalize the drug and regulate its sales. In defense of the move, Trudeau said it would protect younger generation while preventing criminals from benefiting from black market. Now, three years later, he can mark it as a promise kept and fulfilled.

Position of Canada’s cities

Canadian cities being on the front lines of marijuana legalization are going to take part of the responsibility the policing of new regimes, managing zones, retail locations, business licensing, regulations and home cultivation.

However, many cities are concerned about how federal tax from cannabis sale will trickle down. While some of the cities have backed out and will not allow legal pot shops.

A projection from the federal government shows it will raise $400m a year from tax revenues on cannabis sales and in a deal with the provinces the feds are said to keep 25% tax revenues an annual limit of $100m. With the rest going to the provinces for funding of the cities.

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