Legalized marijuana legislation officially rolls out

by | Oct 18, 2018 | Headlines, News

Rachael Taylor and Sydnee Walcott
News Reporters

Amsterdam passed the joint to Canada as the nation celebrates the legalization of cannabis across the nation.

Canadians are now allowed to possess or share up to 30 grams of legal recreational cannabis.

Canadians can also buy dried or fresh cannabis and cannabis oil from provincially-licensed retailers or online from federally-licensed producers.

Depending on where they live, most Canadians can also grow up to four cannabis plants per residence for personal use. They can also make cannabis products, such as food and drinks, at home as long as they are not used to create concentrated products.

It won’t be until 2019 that edible products and concentrates will hit the market.

The legal age for smoking cannabis is set at 19, like the legal drinking age, across Canada excepting Alberta and Quebec, where the legal age is 18.

However, a poll by Postmedia and Dart Insight found about three-quarters of Canadians believe a person should be 21 before they can smoke pot.

But how did marijuana win the war on drugs in Canada? It’s been a lengthy process that stems from a Lieutenant Governor of Upper Canada handing out hemp seeds in 1801 to stimulate the economy and cannabis industry.

More than a century later, cannabis, along with opium, cocaine and morphine, became illegal in Canada in 1923 after the Narcotics Drug Act Amendment Bill introduced the Act to Prohibit the Improper Use of Opium and Other Drugs.

Cannabis use seemed to reach new highs in 1962, when the number of convictions for cannabis jumped to 20 cases in 1962 alone from 25 cases in the 16-year period between 1930-1946.

By 1968, increased pot-smoking by college students and the hippie psychedelic counterculture saw the number of convictions jump to 2,300.

In 1972, a federal government commission into the non-medical use of drugs came to the conclusion that though pot shouldn’t be legalized, criminal charges for its use should be abolished.

However, it wasn’t until 2003 that the first federal decriminalization bill was introduced by the Liberal government of Jean Chrétien. The bill would have reduced the possession of up to 15 grams of cannabis from jail time to a civil fine.

Due to pressure from the United States Drug Enforcement Administration, the bill did not go through. A year later, an identical bill was introduced by the minority Liberal government of Paul Martin but was defeated.

A new national anti-drug strategy would be announced by Prime Minister Stephen Harper. The strategy imposed mandatory prison sentences to those convicted of dealing or growing cannabis.

The new strategy meant a person caught with 500 plants would face a two-year minimum sentence. The maximum penalty ranged from seven to 14 years in prison.

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau campaigned in 2015 his party was committed to legalizing marijuana. Harper said Trudeau was “promoting marijuana use for our children.”

When Trudeau won, many credited youth voting for his recreational marijuana policy.

In 2017, the Canadian government proposed the Cannabis Act, which would legalize the use, possession, cultivation and purchase of a limited amount of recreational cannabis to those who are 18 years of age or older.

Although legalized across the nation, Humber College students will not be allowed to enjoy cannabis on school property.

Students on campus or in residence will not be able to make edibles, grow plants, smoke inside or on school property.

In January, Humber will go smoke-free. This means students will not be able to smoke recreational marijuana, vape or smoke cigarettes anywhere on school property.