Marijuana legalization affects more than just smokers

New legislation in Canada may affect marijuana policy worldwide


BBC News

Marijuana supporters changed the maple leaf to a cannabis leaf after legalization.

Angelique Robinson, Staff Writer & Social Media Coordinator

Canada has had the same marijuana policy for 17 years, their policy allowed for the use of medicinal marijuana. Recently however, the nation legalized the use of recreational marijuana, meaning that anyone over 18 or 19 years old can smoke marijuana without risk of prosecution. Uruguay is the only other nation who shares the same policy as Canada. This policy does not solely affect Canada’s marijuana loving citizens but foreign citizens who are likely to visit in the future.

In contrast, the United States, with much protest, has failed to legalize recreational marijuana use on the federal level. Naturally, learning that Canada has nationally legalized the practice has sparked the interests of many American smokers. People started asking questions to see if anything would change in regard to the United States.

Many smokers wanted to know if their actions in Canada were punishable when they returned to their native countries. Different nations have come out with different statements on policy.

According to the Washington Post, the government is going to be stricter on border control, Americans may go to Canada and indulge in marijuana, but they may not return with any in their possession otherwise they may face criminal charges. Another change in border control will be that if a Canadian citizen admits to marijuana use then they will not be permitted to cross the border and may be banned for life.

Not every nation feels the same way about how to handle Canada’s recreational legalization. There are some nations that will have similar policy to the United States, they will allow their citizens to go to Canada and use marijuana if they do not try to return with any in their possession.

There are also countries who will have strict policy when it comes to this issue. According to Narcity and the New York Times, South Korea and Japan are two of these nations. Within each country marijuana use, possession and transportation is illegal. Their policies against marijuana will go with citizens who are visiting Canada, they can face substantial fines and even years in prison.

There is a large-scale debate on the fairness and seriousness of the issue. When asked if marijuana was worth going to Canada, one Durant stude

Ekos Politics
The graph shows that even in 2015, 67 percent of Canadians supported legalization, showing how long Canadians have longed for legalization

nt says “Of course it is, that would make for a fantastic eighteenth birthday.” While some smokers feel passionately about the issue, others feel less seriously. When a student in Illinois was asked the same question, they replied with, “No, smoking is never that serious.”

Geography is not a factor in this decision, both Florida and Illinois have laws to allow medicinal uses of marijuana. Even students at the same school have differing opinions on the matter. While still being asked the same question, another Durant student believes, “No, no one should even think about doing that.”

The second Illinoisan student was asked a slightly different question than the above students. The student was asked was asked if bringing back marijuana from Canada should be allowed. The student believes that “It should be brought, I don’t think it does much harm.” The government does not agree because it is not legal on a national level thus they would have n way of knowing if the drug is legal in the specific citizen’s state.

There also would be no way of proving a traveler is from a state where marijuana is legal. Changing border control to be able to do these this would require lots of money to provide all officials with the technology and trainings to run programs. This would also slow down border control drastically.

Alongside how to handle customs control, many nations will face increased pressures to legalize the practice. Swiftly after the legalization occurred and people learned of the policy’s success, many bloggers and activists began pressuring their governments to adapt the same policy as Canada. These bloggers exist all over the globe, hoping that their governments succumb to the pressure.

There are many arguments for nations to legalize the practice, one of them is to boost the economy. The second Illinois student believed that this was one of the best reasons to legalize the product. Canada’s legalization is going to drastically change their economy.

For Canada the implementation is going to boost their economy. According to PBS’ estimates, Canada could make $1 billion in tax revenues within a year and this number would continue to rise as years go on.

More people are going to invest in the business due to mass popularity as there has been a mass shortage shortly after legal stores opened. Companies dedicated to marijuana are gaining more stock, they are worth more as people continue to order in these heightened rates.

There are hidden consequences that people did not think about that have arisen. For one, no one expected there to be such a large demand for marijuana after the legalization. According to Vice, some suppliers did not receive enough product to offset the restless some suppliers did not receive enough product to offset the high demand of restless consumers.

Another result stems from the criminal aspect. The main concern is what happens to all the people in prison who are serving sentences for possession of marijuana, as it is now legal. According to Maclean’s, the government will have to pass policy that will allow those serving simple possession charges to apply for pardons without waiting lists or fees. This only partially reverses the problem; the charge will not be erased from permanent records regardless if the person gains the pardon. The Canadian government will have their hands full trying to pass this legislation and then issuing pardons.

The New York Times
This black market business owners makes no plans to legalize his business due to increase in profitability

This is one of the main arguments against legalization in the United States because of the nation’s incarceration system. There were 599,282 Americans charged with marijuana possession in 2017 alone.

This would mean the executive branch would have to go through at least 600,000 appeals for pardons if the nation were to legalize marijuana. There are so many other issues in the nation that this seems like a waste of the government’s time. On the other hand, these people could remain imprisoned because at the time of their arrests and convictions they did commit a crime.

The government would have to dedicate resources to this job because they would have to have someone take the time to separate those who had simple possession from those who were charged with possession and intent to sell.

Another part of the criminality of it is past offenders, these are the people who were convicted and have already served their time. The average punishment for possession is a $1,000 fine and about one year in prison. This would cause tension to be formed between the federal government and previous offenders.

Having to pay the fine and lose a year of freedom is not very bad as a legal punishment. This changes when other people will begin to get away with the same things that others were prosecuted for. People would begin to resent the government as well as the policy. Overall, this policy would reap havoc on the already chaotic justice system.

The legalization of marijuana seems to have ups and downs for Canada. While the growing cannabis market provides more jobs, the black-market sales are just as high as before the legalization in Canada. Based on everything going on around cannabis, the United States may not want to legalize on a national level.