On October 17th recreational marijuana became legal in Canada.
Canada historically had one of the highest percentage of youth and young adult users of marijuana in the world. The previous restrictive approach to marijuana clearly did not work. It allowed organized crime to generate billions of dollars of profits by making potentially contaminated black market cannabis available to Canadian youth.
Legalization permits the Canadian government to strictly regulate and restrict access to cannabis, keep it out of the hands of under-aged youth, remove the profits from the criminal gangs, and help educate young people about the risks of consumption.
The newly enacted Cannabis Act is the result of extensive consultation with law enforcement and health and safety experts. Legalizing marijuana does not allow youth unrestricted access to marijuana. Instead, the Cannabis Act establishes similar regulations surrounding alcohol and tobacco – two legal products that are significantly more addictive and more damaging to health than cannabis; alcohol and tobacco have been much less accessible to minors because of legal restrictions.
Our federal government is investing $274 million into training and preparing 13,000 police to detect, catch, and deter drug-impaired driving and enforce the new cannabis regulations. Working with provincial and territorial governments, $100 million will be invested in an extensive public education campaign to inform Canadians, particularly youth and young adults, on the risks of cannabis consumption and the dangers of driving while under its influence.
Canada’s former cannabis prohibition system was a failure. The Cannabis Act is the most responsible and effective way to protect the health and safety of young Canadians and reduce gang profits and violence.