Canada

Written By: - Date published: 3:18 pm, April 14th, 2017 - 20 comments
Categories: drugs, health and safety, International, law - Tags: , , ,

Ralph Goodale, Canada’s public safety minister on the laws around cannabis possession and use

“If your objective is to protect public health and safety and keep cannabis out of the hands of minors, and stop the flow of profits to organized crime, then the law as it stands today has been an abject failure…

  • Canada aims to end over 90 years of prohibition by July of next year.
  •  Ottawa will regulate production, including licensing producers and ensuring the safety of the country’s marijuana supply.
  • The provinces will determine how the drug will be distributed and sold and what the minimum age limit will be if they choose to have a limit above 18 years of age.
  • ‘Grow your Own’ will be limited to four plants per household.
  • Pricing and taxing details are expected to be unveiled in coming months.

Medical cannabis is already legal in Canada.

Meanwhile, in the country that used to lead the world on many fronts and that just happens to enjoy excellent climatic growing conditions for marijuana, a bloody license is still required for the growing of non-thc hemp.

20 comments on “Canada”

  1. gsays 1

    I have long said the most damaging aspect to cannabis is it’s status in law.

    Am wary of the full legalisation, as this would put it into the hands of big companies.
    Decriminalization is the way forward.

    • Draco T Bastard 1.1

      Am wary of the full legalisation, as this would put it into the hands of big companies.

      No it wouldn’t – it would put it into the hands of government and that is something the big corporations don’t want. Deregulation is about removing that power from governments and placing it in the hands of the corporations.

      Decriminalization is the way forward.

      And that would leave it in the hand of the gangs other organised criminal groups.

      • weka 1.1.1

        how would you propose stopping gangs from being involved in cannabis supply once its legal?

        • Draco T Bastard 1.1.1.1

          It simply becomes uneconomical for them to remain involved. It’s the huge profits brought about by prohibition that makes it viable for the black-market. Once it’s legal that will disappear through the actions of increased competition and so will the gangs involvement in it.

      • gsays 1.1.2

        Looking at medicinal cannabinoid, very expensive, with the need to pay for research and big pharma profits.
        Compared to cannabis oil, made in the kitchen.

        Once the big guys are involved, they will have their lobbyists in the Beehive, protecting their market share.
        Witness booze, raw milk etc.

        Decriminalization will take income from the gangs, lower prison population, and allow effective education around the ‘demon weed’.
        Plus stuff being taxed for having a toot.

        • Draco T Bastard 1.1.2.1

          Looking at medicinal cannabinoid, very expensive, with the need to pay for research and big pharma profits.

          Best way to fund the research is through government funding of government research institutions.

          After that the government could contract a private institution to produce the drugs or even do it themselves. It is, of course, cheaper to do it themselves.

          Once the big guys are involved, they will have their lobbyists in the Beehive, protecting their market share.

          Then we need to ban lobbying.

          Decriminalization will take income from the gangs,

          No it won’t because all decriminalisation does is stop the police from prosecuting people who have a small amount on them. The source will still be the gangs because it will still be illegal to produce and supply.

          Plus stuff being taxed for having a toot.

          It’s not being taxed for having a toot but for using the nations resources.

  2. weka 2

    Good to see they’re allowing home grown. Did you see anything about selling/sharing from home?

    I agree with gsays about the problems of it being handed to big business. Would be nice in NZ if the existing growers could be supported to become local suppliers of the plant direct to the public. Once it starts getting processed, then treat it like other regulated substances. Production and growing should be addressed separately.

    • Graeme 2.1

      In NZ context, the barriers to starting a brewery, winery or distillery are pretty low, there’s a few hoops to hop through on the tax and food safety side, but a lot of people are doing it and sometimes really well and successfully.

      A legalised dak regime wouldn’t be all that different, distribution would be direct, like craft brewers and cellar door or through current licensed channels, and the current growers would have the expertise and IP to be a long way ahead of any corporate player. The big difference would be that it would be controlled, legitimate and contributing to society through taxation. It’s quite possible that a corporate consolidation may not occur here if the barriers are similar to alcohol, we’re too discerning and would seek out what we liked if it was as available as wine or craft beer.

      • weka 2.1.1

        I still think that there needs to be a differentiation between plant and processed plant though, and in that case the winery comparison would compare to processed cannabis not raw plant.

        Is there any need to regulate raw plant apart from tax for Health, and making sure it’s not being made available to kids? However once people start processing, then apply a higher bar to jump, and processing for medicine even higher.

        And just ban making cannabis into anything that children will like the look of.

        I also think that while the barriers might be low for a winery etc relative to other regulated businesses, it’s still far beyond what many small growers could manage. Hence the suggestion of having a low bar for raw plant. I’m thinking about the local food scene in NZ, where it’s getting increasingly difficult for small growers to produce for local markets because regulations are designed for bigger businesses (boutique and bigger).

        • Graeme 2.1.1.1

          The barriers to small scale alcohol production are more financial and around distribution and marketing skills than regulatory. Lots of people are going from being a home brewer to a craft brewer, those with the product and skills are doing quite well.

          But most home brewers stay at that level and the law handles that fine. Most drinkers however, would rather just go down to the bar or bottle shop and buy it off the shelf. The same as most smokers buy their dak from a dealer. That wouldn’t change much except those with criminal records wouldn’t be able to get licences, same as alcohol, and home scale would be like home brew.

          Where the criminal side would displace to is the interesting discussion.

  3. Glenn 3

    Canada also legalized medically assisted dying for terminally ill Canadian adults last year while NZ still procrastinates and duck shoves.
    The reason I say that is today I witnessed the death (finally) of a dear sick relative all the time thinking , if this was a dog the owner would be arrested or fined.

    Anyway…sorry to side line the original dialogue. Of course cannabis should be legalized in NZ. Polls show most folk agreeing however our peers who hold elected power know better or at least think they do. I often wonder who they really work for.

    The fact that cannabis is illegal puts it’s street value up by 100s of percent meaning the gangs are rolling in it (dollars not dope).
    Legalise it and the value will crash.

  4. Richard McGrath 4

    Why not legalise it completely and allow unlimited capacity to grow it yourself, as per Uruguay? I see Canadian households would be allowed to grow a whole four plants a year each. You didn’t think Trudeau would miss an opportunity to get his cut of the sales revenue did you? Good start though, well done Canada.

  5. Adders 5

    On the BBC World Service radio today, “What Happens When You Legalise Cannabis?”:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p04yxs0k (23 minutes).

    “In 2014 marijuana was legalised for recreational use in Colorado and Washington states in the US. Oregon, Alaska, California, Nevada and Massachusetts have all followed. These votes were the result of fierce campaigns. Activists argued that changing the law would eliminate the black market in marijuana; creating a legitimate, taxable industry and allowing the police to focus on more serious crime. Opponents feared more people would become cannabis addicts and predicted an uptick in health problems and robberies. So – three years in – what happened?”

  6. peterlepaysan 6

    Decriminalisation would involve so much apology and compensation to the already criminalised that all political parties would be very, very, very careful.

    Mind you the libertarian ACTs would welcome freedom of choice. They would welcome freeing up of prison space, more empty cells means fewer prisons and prison staff. I m sure English’s cronies in Treasury are looking at this. Trouble is it cannot be sold as “fiscally or economically responsible”.

    Having eviscerated the public sector decimating corrections must be tempting.
    Most govt entities are husks of what they were. NGO’s are starved of govt funds, while the business sector gets tax breaks.

    What better way to empty prisons than to decriminalise cannabis.

    It would outflank Labour and the Greens in one hit and easily be justified by neo liberal bull shit as well as attracting lots of younger voters.

    I see generations of nzer’s watching “blue smoke go drifting by…”

    OBTW I favour decriminilisation of cannabis use.

    • Graeme 6.1

      If Key had still been around I’d have been expecting some form of liberalisation this election, especially if the Nats were on the ropes, with Bill I’m not so sure. There’s a lot of capitalists eying the “opportunities” and treasury types looking at the corrections budget. Slater / Carrick Graham? did a few pieces on this a couple of years ago speculating on full commercialisation.

  7. RedLogix 7

    Just back home after six months working in Canada. (Totally exhausted after a 50 hour flight from hell, but that’s another tale.) A few people mentioned this positively and I didn’t hear anyone negative about it. Even those who don’t like or use drugs (and I count myself as one of them) seem to accept that criminalisation causes even more harm.

    So yes I think most ordinary people have reached the point where it is possible to talk about decriminalising marijuana in constructive terms. Locally TOPS is openly asking it’s membership to contribute their ideas:

    http://www.top.org.nz/cannabis-survey?utm_campaign=canabismem&utm_medium=email&utm_source=garethmorgan

    Five different models are proposed, all of which recognise that some constraints on marijuana use are still necessary. I happily accept the argument against criminalisation has been won. But what next?

    How do we shape policy around this drug? What options are there, what alternatives have been tried elsewhere in the world, and what are the best features NZ might incorporate?

  8. justpassingthru 8

    https://static1.squarespace.com/static/541b7c6de4b09a2902b6920d/t/56e76adc62cd940c184d3d43/1458006841798/Release-A+Quiet+Revolution+2016.pdf

    Too long to give a proper summary but goes over a number of countries and their approach to drug decriminalisation. New Zealand is not mentioned but it’s interesting to note that under the Misuse of Drugs act judges are directed not to impose a custodial sentence with regards to marijuana possession.

    If you’re interested in decriminalisation it’s well worth reading.

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