This week, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that Canada plans to make marijuana legal across the country beginning in the summer of 2018. This is the culmination of a campaign promise made by Prime Minister Trudeau’s Liberal Party dating back to the run-up for the 2015 election. The Prime Minister has long supported legal cannabis, but since that election there has been little visible progress towards the goal. But with legal marijuana in Canada within reach, we’re close to achieving an uninterrupted green belt – where cannabis can be legally bought and sold – all the way from the arctic circle to the Mexican border. That’s around three thousand miles of marijuana.
And the truth is, even Mexican legalization of the plant is probably not far off. Last year, the Mexican Senate voted (at the request of Mexican President Pena-Nieto) to legalize medical marijuana nationally and there are reasons to believe decriminalization might be on the horizon. But for now, the big prize is Canada.
Reports conflict as to whether the legislation will be introduced on April 10th or on April 20th, a date with far more significance for the cannabis community. Either way, the plan is that cannabis will be legal across Canada beginning on Canada Day 2018. A little bit of googling informs us that Canada Day is on July 1st.
Under the proposed law, Canadians over 18 will be able to buy marijuana legally, although provinces will be able to set higher age requirements if they wish. Provinces will also be responsible for deciding how they will license and regulate marijuana sales. Individual Canadians will be able to grow up to four plants at a time.
It’s hard to say just what effect this will have on marijuana in America. With moves towards legalization across the rest of the continent, US legislators might feel additional pressure to loosen our outdated policies. What’s more, because there is no legal marijuana in cities in the Northeast and Midwest (with the exception of Boston), it’s hard to imagine that more of this legal Canadian weed won’t be leaking across the borders near Montreal and Toronto.
In any case, this is just one more reason to love our safer, saner, healthier, and slightly more boring neighbors to the North.