10/17/18 Update: Marijuana is being sold in Canada starting today, October 17th, after a June 19th vote to legalize it country-wide.
While things in the United States are chaotic and stressful as ever, things right next door are pretty chill. Canada has legalized marijuana, and when you consider that fact along with all of the other perks the country offers, you really might want to dig up your passport and book a little trip.
The Canadian Senate voted 52-29 on June 19th to legalize recreational weed, meaning Canada will have both legal medical and recreational weed markets (it didn’t officially go on sale in stores until October 17th in order to give each region the chance to sort out their markets). Trudeau was behind the bill, tweeting after the vote that legalizing weed means public health officials can get busy educating people about marijuana and ensuring that it’s taxed properly.
His political supporters agree. Senator Tony Dean, who sponsored the bill in the Senate, said in a statement, “I’m feeling just great. We’ve just witnessed a historic vote for Canada. The end of 90 years of prohibition. Transformative social policy, I think. A brave move on the part of the government. Now we can start to tackle some of the harms of cannabis. We can start to be proactive in public education. We’ll see the end of criminalization and we can start addressing Canada’s $7-billion illegal market. These are good things for Canada.”
Not everyone was stoked about the passage of the bill, of course. The Canadian Senate battled over it for months, offering amendments to the Cannabis Act. Quebec, Manitoba, and Nunavut all wanted to ban homeowners from growing recreational weed, for example, but that was eventually tossed out. Trudeau insisted that personal cultivation ensured a smoother legalization process.
On June 15th, the Prime Minister said, “One of the strong recommendations by experts was that we ensure personal cultivation of four plants at home. We understand there are questions and concerns about this, and we understand also that it will be important to study the impacts of what we’re doing and whether there can be changes made in three years, but we need to move forward on better protecting our communities.”
We look forward to see how things unfold in our neighbor to the north.