Marijuana Legislature

Alexa Grittani - 4A Mechanical
Posted on: September 23, 2017

In case you were unaware, the federal government plans to legalize marijuana by July 1st, 2018. However, Canada missed the deadline this past summer to withdraw from international drug control treaties. This means that Canada could be breaking international law when hashish is legalized next summer.
“The [treaties] are outdated,” explains Steven Hoffman, a York University Professor who specializes in global health law. “The treaties were adopted in a time when there was a different view of what addiction was.”
There are a few ways that Canada could avoid breaking international law. The most obvious is to delay the deadline of hemp legalization. A less feasible option would be to amend the constitution or say that the legalization of pot is for “scientific research”. But dope doesn’t exactly go with all of the other things that are in our constitution: equality, freedom of speech, cannabis. And saying that the legalization of “grass” is for science would take some creative lying. So, is the government really ready to meet its deadline next summer? Could the legalization set a precedent on the breaking of international laws?
Police are also pushing back on this deadline. Ontario Provincial Police and the Saskatoon Police Service have stated that they need more time to train officers on the new laws and that they require twice as many officers to be certified to conduct roadside drug impaired driving testing.
The government seems willing to continue with their proposed deadline despite critics claiming that they need to wait for all of these stakeholders to be ready, else they will be risking public harm. The government has a different view. Their view is that the current legislation is failing Canada’s children and youth and needs to be amended as “quickly and appropriately as possible”, said Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould. Which is important because young adults and youth in Canada use cannabis at one of the highest rates in the world.
So, the incoming laws will include specific laws looking to protect Canada’s youth. The legal age will be nationally set at 18 years, but it can be raised provincially. The two new laws that will come with weed legislation will make it illegal to give or sell Mary Jane to youth, and to use a minor to commit an offence relating to hash (a cannabis related offence). It will also be illegal to label kef with anything that could be construed as appealing to young people. This includes the prohibition testimonials, a depicted person, character or animal.
Edibles can be prepared at home for personal use, but it will remain illegal to sell edibles. This is because states that have legalized ganja already have found that edibles are harder to regulate because potency is harder to regulate. The Canadian government is going to wait until they can create measures to protect public health before allowing edibles to be sold.
So what is the new locoweed legislation going to look like for consumers? Adults will be able to buy dried cannabis, cannabis oil, plants, and seeds from government-regulated retailers or directly from federally-licensed producers online. Adults will be able to possess and share up to 30 grams, and cultivate up to four plants per household, with a height restriction of one meter.
We also already have an idea of how much it will cost. New Brunswick has already announced deals with two suppliers for 9000 kilograms of reefer earlier this month. Their estimated retail value for their deal is $80 to $100 million, which indicates a retail price of about $10 per gram. This is important because in order to achieve the goal of irradiating the black market sales of doobie, the legal price needs to be lower than what it is right now. Right now the average price of toke is $8.64 based on analysis that was released last fall by the parliamentary budget officer. This could make it difficult to eliminate the black market because there will be taxes on legal marijuana as well as a slightly higher price.
Will provinces be able to keep up with the surge in demand for marijuana following legalization? The Ontario government only plans to open 40 stores initially. So there will be a significant transition period before production catches up to demand and more stores will be opened.