Cannabis legalisation was first introduced in some European countries, a few years later in the U.S., and then in Latin America, where Uruguay stood as a pioneer country. The global cannabis market shows a trend towards legalisation of cultivation, sale, and consumption, together with a strong regulatory framework to monitor quality, products and income earned. On October 17th, 2018, Canada became the second country worldwide to legalise recreational marijuana, five years after the Oriental Republic of Uruguay adopted the same decision.
Quantity Limitations on Weed under Canadian Law
In Canada, it is legal to possess up to 30 grams of marijuana, to smoke in public spaces, and to grow up to 4 plants at home. The law allows every province to establish its own regulation. In this way, for instance, the minimum legal age for possession is 18 in Alberta and Quebec, while the rest of Canadian provinces has set this age at 19.
Why Is Marijuana Legal in Canada?
The road to legalisation was neither short nor easy. Research and education have played a key role in this process. The measure was introduced by the governing Liberal Party, led by President Justin Trudeau, honouring one of its manifesto pledges. The goal of legalization was to restrict minors’ access to marijuana and to keep this drug out of the black market. Canada has one of the biggest garden laboratories in the cannabis industry, located in Tweed, Ontario. 41 ha of cultivated land in the most populated Canadian province and the second largest cannabis consumer in the country. Additionally, legalisation has been accompanied by a vigorous education campaign on state websites and dispensary guidelines.
Legalisation implies state intervention in production, sale, and distribution. The Canadian State is entrusted with the management of prices, quality, and availability. Then, the state depends on producers and these, in turn, depend on licences granted by governmental agencies—a mutual relationship based on state credibility and citizens’ trust.
Canada: A Multicultural Economic Power
Canada ranks among the 10 largest economies worldwide in terms of GDP. According to the Human Development Index (HDI), measured by the United Nations to assess a country’s achievements and—ultimately—its citizens’ standard of living, Canadians enjoy a good quality of life. Canada lands at the 22nd place out of 190 on the Doing Business ranking, which rates countries on their ease of doing business. The country has also scored 77 on the Corruption Perceptions Index for the public sector—a low corruption perception according to its inhabitants.
Its history of state formation is marked by the influence of indigenous and colonial cultures, as well as those cultures brought by immigrants of other origins who arrived in the country across different historical periods.
Canada made a landmark decision in 1971: making multiculturalism a State policy. After more than 50 years, cultural diversity remains a signature feature of this North American country. In contrast with states that use multicultural policies to articulate the different Native cultures within the country, such as Bolivia—officially the Plurinational State of Bolivia, Canadian multiculturalism has been focused on the integration of cultures brought by immigrants.
Cannabis Consumption in Canada
Data from the National Cannabis Survey for the first quarter of 2019, published in March that same year—a year after cannabis legalisation in Canada—revealed that 18% of Canadians aged 15 or older (5.3 million people) have admitted using marijuana, while the previous year this percentage stood at 14% for the same period, according to Canada’s Office for National Statistics.
As research continues, leading companies offer products such as cannabis pens, vapes, drinks, chocolates, and concentrates. Canopy Growth, a world-leading company in the production of cannabis, hemp, and cannabis devices, drives revenue with 94% increase in recreational dried cannabis sales in the first quarter of 2020.