15 Oct 2018
Canada Opens Shops Selling Cannabis
for Recreational Use
Becomes First Commonwealth Country To Do So
UK-based think-tank, Transform Drug Policy Foundation, advised the cannabis task force and gave evidence to both Houses of the Canadian Parliament.
As of Wednesday 17 October Canadians will be able to legally purchase cannabis from licensed shops supplied by government regulated companies. Transform’s Head of Policy, Steve Rolles who advised the Canadian Government on the detail of their new legislation said:
“We welcome this move. Canada is on the right side of history, as it becomes the biggest country so far to make cannabis production and supply legal for adult recreational use. Taking a health based approach protects people who use cannabis, and licensing of producers and vendors keeps organised crime and unregulated dealers out of the market.
“People use cannabis for pleasure, but all drugs carry risks and that’s why we advised the Canadian Government to put in place regulations to protect people. We suggested age controls to reduce availability to young people, quality controls, and safer use warnings, as well as taxes and price controls.
“The tide has turned. Canada is a G7 nation and one of the largest commonwealth countries. We expect the UK and many others to follow suit in the next five years, so that they can put government, not gangsters in control of the production and supply of cannabis.”
“The sky won’t fall, it will noticeably brighten. Where legal regulation has been tried, it is delivering healthier and safer communities.”
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted the passage of the new law on 20 June 2018:
“It’s been too easy for our kids to get marijuana - and for criminals to reap the profits. Today, we change that. Our plan to legalize & regulate marijuana just passed the Senate. #PromiseKept” https://twitter.com/JustinTrudeau/status/1009227308216045568
Danny Kushlick, Head of External Affairs, +44 (0)7970 174 747, email@example.com
Steve Rolles, Head of Policy, firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes to editors
1. Transform Drug Policy Foundation is a UK based think tank and charity advocating for the legal regulation of drugs www.tdpf.org.uk
2. Twenty-nine US states have some form of legalised cannabis. Nine states and Washington, D.C., have legalised recreational availability of cannabis for adults. That is roughly 190 million people, or slightly more than six times Canada’s population, with legal access to some form of cannabis.
3. Opening statement by Transform’s Steve Rolles, to the Canadian Senate Foreign Affairs Committee - on cannabis regulation and the UN drug treaties - https://www.tdpf.org.uk/blog/opening-statement-steve-rolles-canadian-senate-foreign-affairs-committee-cannabis-regulation
4. This legislation follows an electoral commitment from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the Liberal Party to legalise and regulate cannabis to protect young people, promote public health and deter criminal activity. The Cannabis Act allows adults to legally possess and use small amounts of recreational cannabis, as well as grow at home for personal use.
It additionally sets out a strict regulatory framework for the production, possession, safety standards, distribution, and sale of cannabis. It also creates new criminal offences for selling cannabis to children. It will be illegal for anyone younger than 18 to purchase cannabis, but allows for provinces and territories to set a higher minimum age. It will be legal to grow up to 4 cannabis plants per household.
5. Health Canada FAQ on the Cannabis Act - https://www.canada.ca/en/services/health/campaigns/introduction-cannabis-act-questions-answers.html