February 12, 2016
Canada is on the path to legalized marijuana, thanks to the Liberal government led by the much-adored Justin Trudeau. And yet, the nation is already in a state of confusion over marijuana legalization.
Officiated in a public mandate letter sent to the Minister of Justice, Trudeau stated that the government will work towards creating “a federal-provincial-territorial process that will lead to the legalization and regulation of marijuana.”
Even though the Prime Minister of Canada is on board with the legalize marijuana train and the government plans to begin a consultation process on the topic in the coming months, nothing has truly changed.
Marijuana is still technically illegal in Canada, but given the Prime Minsters words and the publicized stance of the government on marijuana legalization, something of a legal grey zone has been created, at least in the eyes of certain citizens.
Cannabis shops are popping up at a new-found rate, with many actively selling marijuana to patrons who don’t necessarily have a medical license.
Weedz Glass & Gifts, a head shop based in B.C., which has recently expanded to Ontario with Quebec on the horizon, is probably the largest perpetrator of such actions. The store has been known to sell to those without a medical license, and even minors, which has raised a bunch of red flags.
Don Briere, owner and operator of the franchise doesn’t really understand what the problem is. In his view, since the government is already working towards legalizing marijuana, then there isn’t anything illegal with what his stores are doing.
Some Canadians agree and are already beginning to grow and sell their own marijuana, believing the practice to be entirely on the level.
President of the Canadian Police Association, Tom Stamatakis, has experienced this first hand. When interviewed by the Globe & Mail, Stamatakis related how there are “citizens who are convinced or have allowed themselves to be convinced that marijuana is now legal and it’s okay to not only use it, but to manufacture and sell it.”
But in actuality, this legal “grey zone” doesn’t exist. The Canadian Criminal Code remains unchanged, and until the Liberal government actually enacts any changes, marijuana is still illegal.
Despite all of this confusion, however, the Liberal government doesn’t feel the need to rush themselves. Liberal representatives have gone on the record to state that the party will take all the time necessary to ensure the legalization process is done correctly. They were sure to note that all existing laws are still enforced, regardless of what may happen in the future.
And yet, even when the consultation process held between the federal and provincial governments on marijuana legalization is done, the mechanics of enforcing whatever decisions are made will be even more difficult to hammer out.
Provinces, and even municipalities, may have starkly varying approaches on marijuana laws, which could create more confusion for both political leaders and citizens alike.
So while things are a bit chaotic and confusing now, Canada is probably in for much of the same as the nation heads into the age of legalized marijuana.