Is Legal Pot Coming to Canada?

Image used under a Creative Commons License

Image used under a Creative Commons License

Recent events hint at changes to Canada’s prohibition on marijuana.  With an election of Liberal Party candidate Justin Trudeau for prime minister, a shift in Vancouver marijuana licensing practices, and a recent Supreme Court ruling, there may be changes in the overall attitude towards marijuana.

  • In early June, The Supreme Court of Canada unanimously ruled in R v. Smith that restrictions on the means by which medical marijuana patients can use cannabis “unjustifiably violate the guarantee of life, liberty and security of the person.” The decision allows patients to use edibles and other marijuana products. Previously, patients were only allowed to smoke cannabis. Cannabis proponents viewed this decision as a major victory. However, Health Canada, the government department responsible for Canada’s public health,  reminded the public  that “marijuana is not an approved drug or medicine in Canada and has not gone through the necessary rigorous scientific trials for efficacy and safety,” and those in possession must still fall under specific exemptions to Canada’s Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.

These events are far from pivotal, but may reflect changing attitudes towards marijuana in Canada.  If Canada does legalize marijuana, US regulatory schemes will likely serve as models for marijuana regulation in Canada.

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