On October 17, 2018, the Canadian government decriminalized weed for recreational use. Today marijuana is a popular recreation enjoyed by more people than ever with a developing industry for entrepreneurs and tastemakers alike. It has been two years of cannabis legalization in Canada but it was not an easy path.
The same day cannabis was legalized in Canada, I was actually crossing the border from a trip to Detroit. Already I noticed the signs about cannabis legalization and new rules for travel posted everywhere. Same with signage at the airport. The cannabis leaf was now a symbol intended for the public, just like the plant itself. It was the first time ever I’d be asked by authorities if I was travelling with cannabis as part of a checklist – and I realized it is now starting to be another aspect of modern society.
Cannabis legalization didn’t happen overnight
It is an ongoing process that is paving the way for established global markets and shifting how the world views cannabis. Decriminalizing weed for market & recreational purposes on a national level makes Canada only the second country in the world to do so, after Uruguay in 2014.
Canada focused on three main outcomes with cannabis legalization:
- Protection/Education of Public Health
- Protection of Youth
- Reduction of illegal market-related crime
One of the first things I noticed happening was small local dispensaries closing down due to now having an inventory that needed to be regulated by the government before it could be legally sold. This is one reason most countries are hesitant to take on a process like decriminalization. Some cannabis dispensaries were able to get a head start on the changes to business operations before cannabis legalization passed. Those that did were the early bird in helping cultivate local cannabis markets.
Legalization changed Cannabis Culture in Canada
People started trying cannabis for the first time with the right resources and knowledge; part of trailblazing a new era of cannabis culture in Canada. While the delays and other changes that came with cannabis legalization in Canada stirred up a lot of skepticism in the public eye, it is rewarding to see the progress and results beginning to play out with such benefits to society, two years later of cannabis legalization in Canada.
Today, there are hundreds of local licensed retailers operating as part of a dynamic and relatively new legal market. Each component of marijuana as part of the available market – from products and accessories, and licensed retailer storefronts – have all morphed together in refining and designing an aesthetic of comfort, wellness and enjoyment as part of cannabis culture at large.
Ongoing Research on Cannabis
Licensed cannabis retailers are just one part of educating people on the variety of marijuana products and the molecular magic behind them. With cannabis legalization, more doctors, universities, and laboratories are able to research marijuana and understand its scientific and medical benefits. All thanks to advocacy and better funding. Cannabis Life Network has partnered with one such researcher to create our “Ask An Expert” series. Dr. Markus Roggen, PhD. in Chemistry. He is the founder and CEO of Complex Biotech Discovery Ventures LTD, a licensed cannabis research laboratory in Vancouver, Canada.
Canada can be a role model for other countries speculating legalization
The health, social and business benefits Canada continues to explore has sparked other questions. Why is cannabis still controlled internationally by the UN’s 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs? Canada’s legalization process has been a model approach and has empowered other countries to speak up for global revision as to how we interact with marijuana for the future.
Affect of legalization on the Canadian Economy
Earlier this year, Canada reported to the UN that it’s regulated marijuana market has led to a 30% decrease in illegal market activity, which is $2 billion that has been redirected into the Canadian Economy. A lot of resistance to legalization came from a notion that people would be consuming way more marijuana once decriminalized, but that didn’t happen either. Instead, people are experiencing marijuana and it’s natural effects with less of the stigma that’s been perpetuated via the years it’s been classified as a narcotic. Two years in, these are amazingly positive results at the forefront of shifting the paradigm of a global weed movement.