With the passage of Bill C-45 last Tuesday by the Canadian parliament, Canada becomes only the second country in the world to legalize marijuana for both medical and recreational use. The new legislation follows the legal precedent set forth by Uruguay which no longer prohibits the possession, sales, and growing of cannabis products.
Underage use is still against the law, and the individual Canadian provinces still maintain their rights to regulate the industry independent of one another. This means that Quebec, for example, will likely have different regulatory and taxation requirements than Ontario. Meanwhile, there is the already politically contentious relationship with its neighbor to the south, the United States, thanks to a recent G7 (or G6 + 1) meeting attended and ridiculed by Trump last month.
What does legalized marijuana in Canada mean to the USA?
There are currently 29 states in the USA which legalize cannabis to some degree. Some states like Florida only allow marijuana for medicinal purposes. Meanwhile, Colorado and Washington were the first states to legalize it for recreational use, as well. Our nation’s capital, Washington, D.C., even considers recreational weed to be legal now. So, where does this leave Canadian pot enthusiasts who travel to the USA for vacation or business?
Unfortunately, they should probably still be very cautious in attempting to transport their cannabis across the U.S.-Canada border. Even though nearly 60 percent of the states in American now legalize marijuana in some fashion, the federal government in the United States still considers marijuana - in all its many forms - to be illegal. The only reason that weed users in Colorado do not get arrested is because the feds simply “choose” to look the other way. Canadians will likely NOT get the same treatment.
Why doesn’t the USA legalize marijuana?
Even if all 50 states were to someday legalize cannabis, the federal government has another serious obstacle to overcome before they can leap onto the marijuana bandwagon. Oddly, the U.S. is a participant in several internationaldrug treaties, and marijuana is explicated banned in every single one of them. If the feds were to legalize weed in America, then the United States would be in violation of these treaties.
On a more positive note, the United Nations is already considering revising their stance on the issue. In April 2016, a U.N. committee held hearings to decide if cannabis should be removed from the list of internationally controlled substances. However, the conversations only led to some rather heated debates between officials from differing nations.
But hey! That was 2016. A lot has changed in the past two years. In this age of tribal politics, maybe the world’s politicians should just buy a couple of bongs, sit back, get baked, and finally come to an agreement. It may not be the most “diplomatic” way to negotiate, but it certainly couldn’t make matters worse.
(Photo courtesy of Rolling Stone Magazine)