The legal status of cannabis is a matter of ongoing debate across the globe. It’s legality runs the gamut, from massively illegal in countries such as Japan, to pretty much completely legal in Spain. In the United States cannabis is allowed in select states: Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington.
In Canada, the cannabis debate has been going on for quite some time, and the Liberal government has finally announced their goal to legalize cannabis by July 1, 2018. This final date has been highly anticipated since the initial announcement from the Liberal Government that legalization was a goal for the Trudeau administration.
This is probably the best route to take. Before you start cursing at me or calling me names, hear me out!
Not only will legalizing cannabis be financially beneficial to Canada, but it will also have a positive impact on ending drug trafficking. People will no longer need to go to unlicensed drug dealers and, in some cases, risk their lives. They will be able to shop at a licensed and regulated cannabis dispensary where they will feel safe. It will also stop the risk of getting offered other more harmful drugs. This is not only safer for Canadian citizens, but safer and easier for the government as well.
Now, let’s discuss the fact that people go to jail for minor possession of cannabis.
This is a HUGE problem in Canada right now.
According to The Canadian Bar Association, a minimal amount qualifies as 30 grams or less. The maximum penalty you could face is a fine of $1000, 6 months in jail, and in some cases, both. If you are found with 30 grams or more then you are charged with the intent to distribute, also known as trafficking.
The risk of a greater and lengthier prosecution is possible if you are a repeat offender. The current maximum penalty is outrageous, especially in light of the fact that the Liberal Government will be legalizing cannabis by 2018. If people are found guilty and go to jail, they are typically exposed to much worse treatment than many, including myself, would deem to be necessary. It seems clear that the jail sentence would be far more harmful emotionally, financially, and physically than using the drug itself!
People have to endure harassment, emotional trauma, and not to mention the risk of assault, or worse, death.
Why wouldn’t the Liberal government lessen the penalty knowing that soon it will be legal country-wide? That is the real question.
According to the CBC, every province will regulate cannabis differently. Keep this in mind when it is legalized. It may be legal for 18-year-olds to buy cannabis in one province, while in another you will have to be 19. It’s very similar to the legal drinking age across the country, which is fair and respectable, but does vary between 18-19 depending on the province.
It is my view that the government should make the legal requirement the exact same as buying and consuming alcohol. If someone is mature enough to consume alcohol, then consuming cannabis should be held to the same standard.
Something else to note is that each household with be allowed a maximum of 4 plants. So, rather than heading to a dispensary, you will be able to control the plant within your own home. This makes a lot of people happy — but it also raises a few eyebrows.
A major concern of growing your own plants is the risk of it getting into the hands of children, including the plant itself and edibles.
I have one thing to say about this. Be responsible. You store your alcohol and medicine in such a place so that your children don’t consume it, right? It’s the exact same deal with cannabis. I understand the concern, but I definitely don’t see this as a problem unless you are an irresponsible individual.
Before you start calling me a hippy I just wanted to come out and say it, I don’t touch the stuff! This isn’t a fight for my own personal gain. This is myself being a compassionate human being watching a (mostly) harmless plant ruin lives by people being put into the prison system.
Regardless of whether we like it or not, cannabis is a popular drug. It’s popular in some social settings, and it’s glorified on movies and in some mainstream music. It has become such a “normal” part of society, not necessarily to smoke it but to reference it and talk about it. In my own life, I have had people die from alcohol and hard drugs, but nothing horrifying has come from someone smoking a little bit of weed. You can have your own opinion and you don’t necessarily need to agree with mine, but please, think of the bigger picture. People will use cannabis regardless of its legal status and I think that the government and the people can gain a lot by finally legalizing cannabis.
Check out this video by CTV News with Kevin O’Leary for a conservative standpoint on the issue, the potential financial gain for the country, and the precautions that will be taken.