April 20th is generally full of cannabis celebrations across the globe. Officials in Canada seemed to be caught up in the spirit.
Yesterday, on marijuana’s global holiday, members from the Canadian government announced their intention to introduce legislation to legalize recreational cannabis use. Currently, the laws in Canada only permit legal cannabis use for medical patients. Until a recreational law is finalized, cannabis use will remain illegal without a prescription.
Many residents and government officials have become concerned with organized crime’s role in illegal drug trafficking. Bill Blair, former Toronto Police Chief, was appointed to head the reform effort by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and addressed this concern. “We control who it’s sold to, when it’s sold and how it’s used.” He told Reuters while making a comparison to alcohol enforcement. “And organised crime doesn’t have the opportunity to profit from it.” He added.
While there is widespread support for the announcement, not all lawmakers in Canada were happy with the development. Gerard Deltell, of the nation’s Conservative Party, was concerned with youth access to cannabis. “That’s one of the worst things you can do to Canadian youth – to open the door to marijuana,” he told Reuters.
Health Minister, Jane Philpott , stated that the goal was to keep cannabis “out of the hands of children and profits out of the hands of criminals. She went on to say “We will work with law enforcement partners to encourage appropriate and proportionate criminal justice measures,” she said. “We know it is impossible to arrest our way out of this problem.”
Mr. Trudeau made cannabis legalization a cornerstone of his successful 2015 campaign for Canada’s Prime Minister position. He has admitted to using cannabis several times but has indicated that he is not big fan of cannabis. A recreational marijuana law is expected to be proposed next year.