This week, Canada passed Bill C-45, legalizing recreational marijuana across the whole of Canada. Many are calling it an “historic” moment for the country, and some are saying even the world. Bill C-45 went through over a year of intensive study in the Canadian House and Senate and passed with a vote of 52 to 29, with two abstentions. The bill states that Canadians 18 years and older (19 in select provinces) will be able to possess an ounce of weed in public and up to four houseplants.
While we commend Canada and its forward-thinking approach to marijuana, it leaves us wondering what Canadian legalization means for the US. This week, we break down a few key points.
After Uruguay, Canada is only the second country in the world to legalize recreational marijuana, but, Canada is the first G-20 country to pass federal legalization. This effectively gives federally legal recreational marijuana legitimacy throughout what people refer to as “the free world.” Canada’s legalization may even elevate favor for Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s federal decriminalization bill.
In an interview with Rolling Stone magazine, Hannah Hetzer states, “Canada’s progress will galvanize support for drug policy reforms around the world.” Hetzer is the Senior International Policy Manager for the Drug Policy Alliance.
Canada will be the largest country to pass federal legalization. And with its population roughly the same size as the State of California, the US will have the opportunity to examine if federally legal marijuana prevents or increases drug violence and trafficking. The Liberal Party of Canada believes it’s the former.
“Canada’s current system of marijuana prohibition does not work. It does not prevent young people from using marijuana and too many Canadians end up with criminal records for possessing small amounts of the drug.”
Trudeau’s Canada is hoping that by legalizing marijuana it will eliminate the cannabis black market and provide a safe place for adults, even if that means increasing tension with the US.
Trump’s behavior at the 2018 G7 Summit did the US no favors with the Canadian government, and Canada’s new stance on marijuana could strain the relationship even more. But while we know what Jeff Sessions’ take is on marijuana is, Trump can be a little trickier to understand.
In the past, he has stated that he would probably back legislation that keeps marijuana-legal states from federal prosecution. But with the current beef between the two leaders, one might suggest Trump take the complete opposite approach for the sake of spite. Though, with polls finding that more than two-thirds of American voters (and 57% of Republicans) support full legalization, a crackdown would prove to be very unpopular.
So, do we find ourselves going towards the path of federal legalization, or away? We may have to wait until November to know. Until then, what do you think Canada’s federal legalization means for the US? @MMDOTCOM is listening!