Article by Jermiah Vandermeer, Now Toronto
Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has promised to legalize marijuana and his Liberal government recently introduced Bill C-45, the Cannabis Act, to Parliament.
The historic move places Canada at the forefront of global cannabis law reform, but critics across the country are speaking out about the potential dangers of the governments new plan.
I spoke with Kirk Tousaw – one of Canada’s most successful pot lawyers – about the good, bad and ugly of the new bill and how Canada’s cannabis community can continue to make their voices heard.
Marijuana “legalization” is finally coming to Canada! Your thoughts?
I think it’s important to recognize at the outset that the pathway to legalization is exactly that – a pathway and a journey – and we are taking a small step along that path, and in some senses an historic step.
This is the first time that legalization legislation has ever been tabled in the House of Commons and the first time cannabis policy reform has been tabled in the House of Commons in more than a decade. We’re only the second country in the world to be contemplating the legalization of cannabis at the federal level so those are all good things. Now, when you dive into the nitty-gritty of what’s been proposed, I have concerns – some deep concerns – about whether the end of the journey, at least in terms of the legislative process, is going to be what Canadians want and expect from our government.
There’s a 30 gram limit, not bad for a personal limit. But that is not of just any weed – that’s of marijuana you get from one of these Licensed Producers or theoretically grown yourself?
Yes, here is where we run into the devil in the details. The government has proposed that people be able to possess, in public, a maximum of 30 g of cannabis – and that’s dry cannabis. There’s an equivalency ratio to talk about – either fresh cannabis or concentrates and things like that – but let’s stick with the 30 g in public. That’s an arbitrary number obviously, they could’ve said 31, they could’ve said 40, they could’ve said 80, they could have just said you can possess cannabis in public as long as not for the purposes of trafficking. But they pick 30 g and that’s consistent with most jurisdictions. So, while I think it’s sort of silly to have any limit (I can drive up to the local liquor store and back the truck up and fill it up with enough vodka to kill small town and would have no problem at all), we knew there was going to be a limit and 30 g is as reasonable as any other limit (which is to say arbitrary an unreasonable) but it’s a start.