SIX NATIONS – Some Canadians are excited about the possible legalization of marijuana for something other than medical use and some dread what they believe will lead to increased lawlessness and impaired driving issues, or a possible gateway to harder drugs.
These are the two opposing, but equally zealous camps on this issue.
There are many proponents who are perhaps jumping the gun with assumptions about how it’s going to be when pot becomes legal. But until that actually happens, the old laws still apply, according to the Department of Justice website on the matter.
“Cannabis (marijuana) remains a Schedule II drug under the Controlled Drug and Substances Act, and, unless otherwise regulated for production and distribution for medical purposes, is subject to offences under that Act,” says the DOJ. “Possessing and selling cannabis for non-medical purposes is still illegal everywhere in Canada.”
It goes on to explain, “There are public health and safety risks that are associated with cannabis use, including its effects on the mental development of young people and illicit profits that support criminal organization. Until cannabis laws change, and strict regulations and restrictions are put in effect, local police authorities will continue to address illegal cannabis possession and sales.”
Looking ahead, the Cannabis Act, when it comes into effect, seeks to restrict youth access to cannabis; protect young people from promotion or enticements to use Cannabis; deter and reduce criminal activity by imposing serious criminal penalties for those breaking the law, especially those who import, export or provide cannabis to youth; protect public health through strict product safety and quality requirements; reduce the burden on the criminal justice system; provide for the legal production of cannabis to reduce illegal activities; allow adults to possess and access regulated, quality controlled legal cannabis; and enhance public awareness of the health risks associated with cannabis.
Currently only medical marijuana provided through a doctor’s prescription is legal, with restrictions and under the new Act. That part of the equation will remain the same.
If it is approved by Parliament, the bill could become law with a target date of no later than July 2018, according to the government.
Recreational use is another matter with many more hazards and restrictions coming into place when the time comes.
Should the Cannabis Act become law in July 2018, adults who are 18 years or older would be able to legally:
– possess up to 30 grams of legal dried cannabis or equivalent in non-dried form
– share up to 30 grams of legal cannabis with other adults
– purchase dried or fresh cannabis and cannabis oil from a provincially-licensed retailer (in those provinces that have not yet or choose not to put in place a regulated retail framework, individuals would be able to purchase cannabis online from a federally-licensed producer)
– grow up to four cannabis plants, up to a maximum height of 100 cm, per residence for personal use from licensed seed or seedlings
– make cannabis products, such as food and drinks, at home provided that organic solvents are not used (other products, such as edibles, would be made available for purchase once appropriate rules for their production and sale are developed)
As one can see, it is not going to be an “anything goes” scenario as some fear. There will be restrictions and they will carefully monitored.
Until that day comes, the illegal distribution or sale of MJ will bring tickets for small amounts and up to 14-years in jail for larger quantities. If caught in possession of more than the allowable limit, will be ticketed and up to five years in jail for large amounts. Production of marijuana will bring tickets for small amounts and up to 14 years for large quantities. If caught taking cannabis across the boarder will come with up tom 14 years in jail.
Traffic laws are currently being revised to accommodate police enforcement and safety on the roads.
CTV news reports that Canadians could be smoking marijuana legally by July 1st, 2018, but there is still a lot of work to be done before then.