Jun 1, 2016 9:00 AM

2017 Will Be the Year to Legalize Recreational Use of Marijuana in Canada

In April, Canadian Health Minister Jane Philpott revealed the approximate time when the Canadian government was planning to legalize marijuana. In her speech at a special session of the United Nations General Assembly, Philpott announced that the country's government planned to introduce the law the following spring.

The legalization of cannabis in the country is a major campaign plank for the current Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. It has been more than a decade since the question of marijuana decriminalization in the country was put aside due to the concern about Canadian-U.S. trade relations. Today, the public opinion in both countries has changed, which can lead to new possibilities.

With no more pressure from the U.S. on the question of cannabis legalization, Canada seems to be determined on the matter of marijuana legalization for recreational use.

Right now, the main concern of the government is implementing safety measures to prevent the increase of the exposure of children to the drug due to the legalization of adult cannabis use. The Prime Minister's government will keep the profits away from the hands of criminals. However, the speaker did not reveal who would be allowed to grow and sell marijuana.

Another issue that the country's government is concerned about is the possibility of Canada to become the second Amsterdam. Of course, the proximity of the U.S. to Canada is doomed to lead to Americans going back and forth over the northern border just to get high. Right now, Canada has to pay attention to what will happen to taxes and the regulation in general. It will be a deciding point of whether there will be plenty of tourists seeking a legal marijuana smoke.

Since many large Canadian cities that will inevitably open numerous coffeeshops are situated near the border of Canada and the U.S., the country's legislation may influence American border states as well. If local authorities do not want to completely lose their tourism profit in favor of the north, they have to enact their own legislation.

A professor at the University of British Columbia Zach Walsh has been studying cannabis for a long time. Walsh claims that the country has the advantage of knowing how legalization experiments work. The Canadian government can learn from real-life models. The bright examples of Colorado and Washington are great models of how a state can level up its tourism profit and control cannabis use. However, this time, the scale of the law is larger and more organized. Fortunately, there is still a whole year of preparation time before the spring of 2017.

The question of marijuana export also concerns the authorities of the two neighboring countries. It is unlikely that Canada will also legalize the export of cannabis. In the near future, the issue will remain unchanged—weed export is punished by life imprisonment. The new regulatory regime in the country will not touch the export questions in any way.

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