Canada makes final preparations before cannabis becomes legal

October 12, 2018

Credit: CC0 Public Domain
Canada will soon become the second country in the world to legalize cannabis—with the provinces left to work out the details of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's landmark measure.

From October 17, Canadians will be allowed to grow, possess and consume marijuana for recreational purposes—five years after Uruguay passed pioneering legislation on the issue.

Derivative products such as edibles, cosmetics and e-cigarette products containing pot will not be allowed until 2019.

But nonetheless, legalization is expected to boost the Canadian economy, generating $816 million to $1.1 billion in the fourth quarter—without taking into account the black market, which is expected to account for a quarter of all joints smoked in Canada, according to Statistics Canada.

A $400 million tax revenue windfall is forecast as a result—with the provinces, municipalities and federal government all getting a slice.

In total, Statistics Canada says 5.4 million Canadians will buy cannabis in legal dispensaries in 2018—about 15 percent of the population. 4.9 million already smoke.

And the world will be watching how Canada gets on.

"There is a lot of interest from our allies in what we're doing," Trudeau, who has admitted to smoking cannabis himself a handful of times, told AFP in May.

"They recognize that Canada is being daring... and recognize that the current regime (of prohibition) does not work, that it's not preventing young people from having easy access to cannabis."

Provinces decide

Preparations are underway ahead of the reform, promised by Trudeau's Liberal Party, with businesses and local authorities forced to review their rules and regulations.

That's because even though the cannabis ban, in force since 1923, was overturned by the federal government, how legalization plays out in practice has been left to Canada's 10 provinces and three territories to decide.

Several have already said they will not fully implement the law.

For example, even though federal law will permit each household to grow up to four cannabis plants, central Manitoba and Quebec in the east say they will ban it—and go all the way to the Supreme Court over the matter.

Like with alcohol and tobacco, the question of legal age also falls to the provinces. Nineteen seems to be the standard, but it is 18 in Alberta—while Quebec, whose new government will enter office the day after legalization, wants to raise the age to 21.

With regards to sales, some provinces such as Quebec will implement a public monopoly—while others, including Ontario and Nova Scotia, have decided to trust the market to the private sector.

As for law enforcement, federal police will be ordered to abstain for 28 days before working, as will police in Toronto.

Officers in Montreal, however, are simply asked to not show up to work high.

Another issue for the provinces to mull over is open consumption, with Montreal deciding to impose the same rules as those for tobacco—while people in other provinces will have to light up at home.

Explore further: Canada poised to legalize recreational marijuana

Related Stories

Canada poised to legalize recreational marijuana

June 7, 2018
Canada's Senate is set to vote Thursday on legalizing recreational marijuana, a move that would make the country the first member of the Group of Seven nations to legalize the production, sale and consumption of the mind-altering ...

Canada Senate passes bill legalizing recreational marijuana

June 8, 2018
Canada's Senate passed a bill Thursday legalizing recreational marijuana, moving it closer to becoming the first member of the Group of Seven nations to legalize the production, sale and consumption of the drug.

Canada lawmakers vote to legalize cannabis (Update)

June 18, 2018
Canada is set to become the first G7 country to legalize cannabis after lawmakers on Monday passed a bill that would allow free consumption of the mind-altering drug.

Canadian senate clears cannabis legalization

June 20, 2018
The Canadian Senate voted Tuesday to legalize cannabis, bringing Canada one step closer to becoming the first G7 country to authorize consumption and production of the mind-altering drug.

More than 100 pot shops set to open as Canada legalizes weed

October 10, 2018
Mat Beren and his friends used to drive by the vast greenhouses of southern British Columbia and joke about how much weed they could grow there.

PepsiCo joins Coca-Cola in exploring cannabis drinks

October 2, 2018
PepsiCo on Tuesday joined the growing list of big companies to confirm potential interest in making drinks with cannabis.

Recommended for you

Juul e-cigarettes pose addiction risk for young users, study finds

October 19, 2018
Teens and young adults who use Juul brand e-cigarettes are failing to recognize the product's addictive potential, despite using it more often than their peers who smoke conventional cigarettes, according to a new study by ...

Self-lubricating latex could boost condom use: study

October 17, 2018
A perpetually unctuous, self-lubricating latex developed by a team of scientists in Boston could boost the use of condoms, they reported Wednesday in the journal Royal Society Open Science.

Engineered enzyme eliminates nicotine addiction in preclinical tests

October 17, 2018
Scientists at Scripps Research have successfully tested a potential new smoking-cessation treatment in rodents.

Nutrition has a greater impact on bone strength than exercise

October 17, 2018
One question that scientists and fitness experts alike would love to answer is whether exercise or nutrition has a bigger positive impact on bone strength.

How healthy will we be in 2040?

October 17, 2018
A new scientific study of forecasts and alternative scenarios for life expectancy and major causes of death in 2040 shows all countries are likely to experience at least a slight increase in lifespans. In contrast, one scenario ...

Study finds evidence of intergenerational transmission of trauma among ex-POWs from the Civil War

October 16, 2018
A trio of researchers affiliated with the National Bureau of Economic Research has found evidence that suggests men who were traumatized while POWs during the U.S. Civil War transmitted that trauma to their offspring—many ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.