Weed, Pot, Cannabis, Mary Jane — you may not have smoked it or ingested it before, but you’ve certainly heard about it. Since the Liberals have taken office in Canada, The Cannabis Act has become a common topic in the media. The Canadian government plans to make weed legal as early as July 2018 – but are they really? With so many rules, laws and regulations there is a very fine line to be drawn as to whether this new legislation is truly and completely legalizing the plant.
Similar to alcohol and tobacco, cannabis production, sale and use will be heavily regulated and monitored. The current age for purchasing cigarettes is 18, alcohol is 19 and for purchasing cannabis is set to be 18 years of age. You may not be fined or arrested for possession of your pot anymore, but you could be criminally charged for selling or providing pot to a minor and serve up to 14 years in jail. The age restrictions are in place for a reason, certainly it is important to ensure children and youth do not have easy access to drugs and other substances, in fact this is a key point in the government’s argument to decriminalize and regulate cannabis production, distribution, and sale, however by decriminalizing one thing (pot possession) we are now criminalizing a variety of other actions.
The Cannabis Act, if passed, would grant adults over the age of 18 years of age to possess up to 30 grams of legal cannabis. It would also allow adults to share up to 30 grams of pot with other adults, give them the ability to grow up to 4 plants per home and even make cannabis drinks and food. These new laws seem to be lifting the ban on cannabis in Canada, however, with new laws, there are more laws. There will be a penalty for illegal distribution and sale, having too much weed (possession over the limit), growing too much weed, and bringing cannabis with you across the border. There will also be heavy regulation for impaired driving. These new impaired driving laws could soon be considered among the most strict in the world.
These regulations are very important to implement to ensure public safety, reduce accessibility for youth and make it less profitable for illegal drug dealers, however, a key component to the government’s argument for legalizing cannabis is that it will aim to reduce to burden on the criminal justice system. Creating more laws and regulations may not make the burden any lighter and may actually increase the burden on the criminal justice system due to new and more laws being created and enforced. This is far from what was accomplished by legalizing pot in Colorado.
Similar to a “Smart Serve” certification servers need to obtain prior to serving alcohol in an establishment, many believe that workers handling weed should complete similar training. This could mean even more money spent on training and regulation. Not only this, but it creates an additional fee a new employee may need to dish out prior to beginning work due to the sale of cannabis at the establishment. The government will also be ensuring that pot is not packaged or advertised in a way that is appealing to children and will also aim to ban pot smoking in vehicles with a zero tolerance policy.
Takeaway from the Cannabis Act in Canada
We can see plenty of movement in terms of the legalization and regulation of cannabis in Canada. Similar to alcohol and tobacco there must be laws and regulations to ensure safety, however, how many laws are too many? The possession and use of a certain amount of weed may be legal, however, there are many other laws you will need to be aware of and ensure you are not breaking. Many of these laws and regulations are in place for a very good reason, however, some of the proposed laws could be overkill. Pot smoker or not, this new act will affect everyone as smoking pot in public will become (even more) commonplace and new laws are implemented. What are your thoughts on The Cannabis Act? Do you agree with the heavy regulations that will be in place?