Benefits of Legalizing Cannabis in Canada
I am sure all the weed smokers in Canada have heard about the fascinating news – cannabis is about to be legalized, just like in the states of Washington, Oregon, Nevada, California, Colorado, Alaska, Massachusetts and Maine in the USA. The legalization will be succeeded during summer of 2018. But for now, marijuana is legal only for medicinal purposes and only under conditions outlined in the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations. People have drastically different opinions about this change. For instance, citizens, who suffer from psychological issues, admit that legalization of cannabis would ease their state, as it would be more reluctant to legally purchase marijuana for medical purposes. On the other hand, conservative people and citizens of the elder age negatively refer to the act of legalization, as they find such a movement destructive for younger generations. Who is right? When will the legalization be completed and what are the consequences?
Why cannabis is to be legalized in Canada?
The logic is simple and does not contradict the philosophy of international conventions at all. The criminalization of cannabis has already proved inconsistent. Forced to work illegally, this business is controlled by criminals, who choose the goal of the smallest and weakest.
“Now an underage Canadian, a teenager, is easier to buy a joint (a cigarette or a cigarette with marijuana) than a bottle of beer,” says Justin Trudeau, 23rd Prime Minister of Canada. For the developing brain, both substances are harmful. The Canadian prime minister wants to make it more difficult for adolescents to acquire cannabis, “making it at least as difficult as buying beer.” This is the basis of the strategy of legalization.
The fact that nobody will sell alcohol to a teenager in Canada is set in stone. By withdrawing cannabis from the shadows, the government deprives minors of access to the drug. But even if a clever teenager manages to get a joint, he or she, at least, does not risk poisoning. The quality of plants – from the level of the main psychoactive substance tetrahydrocannabinol to pesticides – will be regulated by Health Canada.
Of course, the government is aware that marijuana is a lucrative business. “Criminal organizations and street gangs annually earn billions of dollars in marijuana, which are used to finance other types of criminal activity,” the Canadian prime minister said. The authorities intend to release income from the cannabis tax on the development of the education system, psychological support programs and the fight against dependence. Benefits of legalizing cannabis in Canada are still a comprehensible subject.
Cannabis supply and demand in Canada
The government will submit a bill to parliament next month, by July 1, 2018. Presumably, it will be sold only to adults and to impose excise taxes. Ottawa will recommend setting a minimum age for the acquisition of marijuana at 18 years, but the provinces have the right to raise it at their own discretion. Also, local authorities will be able to set prices for narcotic products and regulate other rules for its sale. The federal government will monitor the supply of cannabis and license its producers, and regional authorities will deal with the sale of the substance. Canadians will be allowed to grow up to four bushes for themselves and store up to 30 grams of dried cannabis.
Key details in the legislation of Canada
The liberal government submitted two bills aimed at ending the more than 90-year ban on the use of marijuana for personal purposes, and thus paving the way for Canada to become the first country in the G-7, which completely legalizes “weed”.
However, approval of the laws will take months: first bills will have to pass parliamentary committees, then the federal government will have to negotiate with the Senate and local authorities. There are skeptics who consider the deadline – July 2018 – too optimistic and expect that this legalization will not come before 2019.
What are the pros and cons of legalizing weed in Canada?
Economists, as well as politics and citizens actively argue on the subject of positive effects of legalizing cannabis in Canada over the past three months.
As one of the world leaders in the field of public health and public safety, Canada, in turn, is ready to share its experience. Social benefits of legalizing cannabis in Canada are explained by the spokespeople as follows:
“We can become an example for those who are ready to move in this direction, we can try to anticipate some difficulties and take advantage of the opportunities that are opening up,” says McLellan.
Politics fear that legalization will lead Canada to a misunderstanding with the administration of Donald Trump. While eight states in the United States and the District of Columbia voted to legalize recreational marijuana, the White House proposed that the Ministry of Justice tighten bans on the use of marijuana. This raises certain concerns for those who will cross the border. But Canadian Public Security Minister Ralph Goodale said that the Canadian authorities were in close contact with their American counterparts during the drafting of the bills. “It is very important for people to understand that crossing the border with this product will be illegal,” he said.
However, economic benefits of legalizing cannabis in Canada are still a question. Business looks at the nascent industry more pragmatically. This year, a dozen marijuana manufacturers were added to the TSX Venture Exchange and Canada Securities Exchange listings. 51 enterprises have already received permission to grow plants, another 815 are waiting their turn. According to Bloomberg, this will increase the production of weed in the country by ten times. The offer will grow, but will the demand grow as well?
The debut of cannabis-company Medreleaf Corp. was the worst in the past 16 years, the Canadian IPO – for the month of its shares fell by 28%. Over the past three months, the value of the shares of the first Canadian cannabis startup Canopy Growth Corp. fell by 21%. The cost of $ 1 billion Canadian cannabis industry has taken a crackdown on the eve of legalization, but investors are tormented by doubts.
What do experts say about the advantages of legalizing marijuana in Canada?
According to experts on budget issues of the Canadian Parliament, next year 4.6 million people aged 15 years will use 655 thousand kg of marijuana and smoke at least once, and by 2021 the figure will grow to 5.2 million. Bloomberg estimates the current number of consumers of marijuana, including legal, in 5.4 million people – about 15% of the country’s population. According to Canaccord Genuity Group Inc., the consumption of marijuana will be 420 thousand kg per year. In both cases – and when calculating the number of smokers, and when estimating market volumes – the error is very significant.
At the same time, many Canadians, especially those who contributed to the forthcoming legalization, have other kinds of fears. Will it possibly happen that a couple of giant corporations will absorb them, and the small growers will remain with nothing? Justin Trudeau believes the fears are unfounded: the country sells beer to major producers, but small local breweries have their market share. In the end, the choice is for the consumer.
The pros of legalizing weed in Canada are still in question. But, if the fears of conservative people are true and the legalization will happen this year, what will be the consequences? Maybe, the changes will lead to better health state among Canadians, or it can mean the start of the slightest economic chaos. How do you think?