CannabizDaily.co has been talking to several people about the new Cannabis Act happening over in Canada. While the optimism is high, there are some questions and misconceptions that we would like to clear up.
Question: Does this mean that the Canadian government wants us all to get high?
While recreational marijuana and medical marijuana is going to be legal in Canada, the government’s main goal for legalization is to be able to strictly regulate and restrict access to cannabis. The Canadian government wants cannabis out of the youth’s reach, while also making it less profitable for organize crime to profit from it. Right now, illegal organizations are producing, importing, and selling marijuana to everyone who would buy. Because the stuff is illegal, that means that supply is scarce and this drives the prices up. In short, it is criminals – who have no regard for anyone’s safety and does not even care if the products they sell are tainted or not – who profits handsomely.
The Canadian government is seeking to change all that. Why buy from a seedy thug at the corner when you can easily, and legally, go inside a licensed dispensary and buy safe and top quality marijuana products from there? Criminals would have to lower their prices to compete, but in the long run, this would make illegal marijuana a lot less profitable for them.
Here’s a fact, in 2015, around 21% of Canada’s youth and 30% of their young adults reported cannabis use within the previous year. Canada also has one of the highest rates of cannabis use in the world. Imagine just how much money organized crime is getting from all of that.
This is also the reason why the government is not decriminalizing marijuana before everything under the Cannabis Act is in place. Doing so in the interim, while we are waiting for the legislation to come in force would only legalize the criminals, even for a short time.
Q: Will the police still be able to arrest me for using or possessing marijuana until the Cannabis Act takes effect?
Yes. Current laws will still apply until the new Cannabis Act gets Royal Assent. In short, cannabis is still very much illegal unless you have authorization to use medical marijuana.
Q: How is the Cannabis Act similar to the Tobacco Act?
Both pieces of legislation is focused on public health. Two of the main objectives of both laws are:
Making the public more aware about the health hazards of using tobacco or cannabis.
Restricting access to youth and children.
The Cannabis Act has similar provisions as the Tobacco Act as well. For one, the new law will put restrictions on the packaging and promotion of cannabis products, similar to those found under the Tobacco Act. The new law would also require amendments to several other laws such as the Non-smoker’s Health Act, to include language to prohibit smoking in public transport or workplaces.
Q: When will we be able to legally buy and use cannabis?
After the Cannabis Act takes full effect on October 17, 2018, then it is technically legal to buy and consume marijuana. However, the provinces and territories have said that they will need anywhere from 8 to 12 weeks from the time the bill gets Royal Assent to be able to fully transition to the new framework, and implement the new rules.
Q: Are you sure that recreational cannabis would be legal?
Yes. When the Cannabis Act is in full effect, you would be able to grow, buy, possess and use limited amounts of marijuana. Possession of a small amount of would no longer be a criminal offense.
The new law would make sure that there is a legal supply of marijuana for adults in the country. If you are lucky to live in a territory or province with an authorized retailer. But if you don’t, you would still be able to get cannabis from federally licensed producers online.