Canada Is Moving Towards the Legalisation of Cannabis for Recreational Use in 2017

  • The country’s Government announced on Wednesday that it would introduce the relevant legal changes in order to decriminalise and legalise this type of consumption and sale during next year. This would make the nation the first among the G7 countries to allow widespread use of the substance.

The Canadian Minister for Health, Jane Philpott, has stated that her country is working in order to be able to legalise the consumption of recreational cannabis in 2017. Philpott did so during a United Nations General Assembly that took place in New York this week and where there was debate about issues relating to the problems caused by drugs on an international level.

It is not the first time that Canada has revealed these intentions in public, as legalisation was one of the promises that the current prime minister Justin Trudeau made to voters during the election campaign. Although it is a declaration of intentions that he has maintained during his first few months in power, up until now the time frame for carrying out the measure remained imprecise.

After providing the notice, Philpott clarified that the details were still being developed, however she stated that with her, cannabis would be kept completely out of the reach of minors. She also indicated that appropriate measures would be taken in order to prevent criminal organisations profiting thanks to the sale of the plant.

With a liberal majority in the House of Commons, the new legislation has a real possibility of being approved. Trudeau, whose government has maintained an extremely high popularity rating, has been linked to matters relating to the regulation of cannabis since the period when he was in the opposition party in parliament. That was when he admitted to occasionally consuming cannabis, a declaration that the Conservative Party tried to use against him but with no success at all.

The legalisation of cannabis is not perceived to be a problem by the population of Canada, at least in general terms. A survey carried out by Nanos Research showed how 68% of citizens consulted supported its decriminalisation. Although there is still work to do and negotiations to take place between the national Government and provinces in order to reach agreements about regulation, taxes and distribution, the panorama opened up with Trudeau looks promising for the decriminalisation of recreational consumption next year. 

If the measure is applied, regulation could provide big economic benefits for the State coffers. A study carried out by one of the country’s banks estimated revenue to be around 10 billion Canadian dollars each year, almost 7 billion euros.

Bill Blair, former chief of Toronto Police and a Member of Parliament, is a key figure for Trudeau in order to manage the measure. Blair announced that Canada should begin to treat cannabis like alcohol or other substances. “We will control who sells it, when and how. By doing so, organised criminals will not have the opportunity to make a profit from it”. 


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