Canada has elected their new prime minister, Justin Trudeau, and with this new liberal government is the promise of a lot of changes for the country. Marijuana legalization is one of the first changes proposed in Canada. Even before Justin Trudeau became prime minister, he was promising recreational marijuana legalization. If and when Canada approves legalizing, it will look a lot different than pot legalization in the U.S. Currently, Canada’s criminal law is totally federal, meaning individual Canadian provinces don’t have the power or privilege to legalize pot on their own (different from the U.S.). However, local law enforcement in some areas can vary their tolerance to marijuana and choose to look the other way (similar to how the federal U.S. government is currently acting).
Medical marijuana was first legalized in Canada in 2001, creating a $900 million industry. Policy.Mic Canada currently spends about $374 million on the “drug war”, including about $37 million dedicated to pot plant raids alone. Legalizing recreational marijuana could not only save Canada almost $40 million but also add to the already booming pot industry sweeping the country. Legalization also seems to be gaining support from the public. One November poll showed that 59% of Canadians approved legalizing recreational use. There is still some opposition among the Conservative Party, which could stop Trudeau’s pot legalization plan in the senate. However, some are saying if the new Canadian government moves quickly there is a chance the Conservative party won’t be able to stop it.
If pot becomes legal in Canada, the U.S. and Canadian border could become a confusing place for pot smokers. Why? Canada and the U.S. already have a decades-old free trade act in place, and pot could change the direction of future trade negotiations. Another issue to consider is the border between Washington state (where recreational pot is legal in the state) and Canada. If Canada legalizes pot, the transportation of weed between country borders could become a sticky situation because the drug is still federally illegal in the U.S. and transportation between countries is regulated under jurisdiction of the federal government.
An additional concern is what will happen when the U.S. elects a new president. The current administration under Obama has decided to turn a blind eye to states who have legalized recreational marijuana. Although, it has not taken any steps to reverse the federal ban and classification of marijuana as a schedule 1 drug. By the way, transporting schedule 1 drugs between countries can be considered trafficking and is punishable by up to 40 years in prison with fines ranging to the millions. No matter which way you slice it, legal marijuana is coming for the Western world (and a lot faster than some people thought).
Las Vegas ReLeaf is part of the already booming medical marijuana industry in the U.S. and Nevada. We now accept all out-of-state and out-of-country patients who provide a valid driver’s license and doctor recommendation or medical marijuana card. Plus, some states (including Nevada) are actively considering putting recreational marijuana on their 2016 ballots. Which means the U.S. might start seeing more pro-pot states pop up in a country where it is still considered a schedule 1 drug.