Canada legalises recreational cannabis

Canada has officially become the worlds second nation, following Uruguay in 2013, to legalise the possession and recreational use of cannabis.

Back in 2015, Liberal party leader Justin Trudeau made the campaign promise of legalising the recreational use of cannabis. Three years into in premiership he’s made good on his promise with cannabis to be legally purchased at midnight this Wednesday.

Cannabis has been issued medicinally in Canada since 2001, however with the new legislation being imposed it will now be possible for individuals to legally purchase the drug.

However, rules are still being implemented, for instance individuals cannot be in possession of more than 30g in public, grow any more than four plants or sell without a licence – much akin to alcohol.

In addition to this, driving under the influence of cannabis will remain an offence in itself despite criticism.

The government’s motivations for the legalisation of cannabis range from several factors such as easing the burden of strict drug laws and the sentences that come with them, however with Canada’s 2019 Federal elections just over the horizon it’s certainly possible that the legalisation was an attempt to tap into Canada’s youthful voting demographic – the likes of which make up the largest group of cannabis users.

The effects of this historic move aren’t certain, some believe that legalising the drug will eventually lead to increased nationwide dependency on drug use, as well as the idea that cannabis serves as a gateway drug to other more harder substances.

However, supporters of this legislation believe that the benefits of liberalised laws on drugs outweigh the negatives. Trudeau himself attests that the move will help reduce underage drug use and illicit drug dealing. The federal government has also stated that the sale of cannabis will rake in an estimated $400 million on tax revenues.

This also begs the question of how many other nations will follow, whilst Canada is only the second nation to fully legalise recreational usage there are other parts of the world that are similarly embracing liberal attitudes on cannabis usage, namely the Netherlands, Portugal and several US states. Providing the effects of this new move are positive then we could expect to see the trend spread further among western nations, such a move will only lead to greater traction with those seeking to legalise the drug.

However, the legalisation is in its infancy so it could be a while before we start to see the effects of Trudeau’s most recent shake to Canadian society.

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