Canada Moves to Legalize Marijuana After Senate Vote
Sources: Fox News, Wall Street Journal, Financial Post
On June 19th, 2018, Canada’s senate voted to legalize the recreational use of Marijuana, making it the second country in history to do so. Recreational use will become legal in mid-October after legislation cleared its final hurdle. This marks a wholesale shift in how the country approaches and perceives cannabis use. When legislation is put into effect, Canada will be the largest national government to legalize cannabis.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he hopes that legalizing the drug will have a positive effect. On Twitter, he wrote, “It’s been too easy for our kids to get marijuana—and for criminals to reap the profits. Today, we change that. Our plan to legalize & regulate marijuana just passed the Senate.” He ended his tweet with the hashtag “#promisekept,” referring to a campaign promise he made several years ago.
According to the Financial Post, pot stock jumped after the country approved the legalization. Canopy Growth Corporation, a medical marijuana company based in Smiths Falls, Ontario, rose 3.3 percent to $43.92 for a market value of $8.7 billion (US$6.5 billion).
Drug-policy experts have said they expect countries in both Europe and elsewhere to use Canada’s experience for guidance in future cannabis legalization strategies. Recreational marijuana use is currently legal in 9 U.S. states and for medicinal purposes in 29 states. Several amendments were stripped from Canada’s bill prior to the final vote, including one that would have banned the sale of branded “swag” and apparel by pot companies and another that would have created a public registry of investors in cannabis. The latter would be used to dissuade criminals and gangs from gaining a foothold in the market.
Canada’s vote came just after former Conservative leader Lord Hague suggested that the United Kingdom should also legalize cannabis. Many believe current drug policies to be inappropriate, ineffective, and out of date.