A few weeks ago, the Canadian government has made a decision that will forever change the mood of its residents: starting this October, it has legalized the recreational and medical use of cannabis. This decision is unprecedented, considering that Canada is the first G7 country to legalize the consumption of this controversial plant – but the legislators consider the decision to be sound. Legal cannabis use will not only bring loads of money out of the dark but also give a boost to Canada’s economy.
The cultivation and sale of cannabis in Canada will be subject to a set of serious rules. First and foremost, its possession and consumption will only be permitted for adults aged 18 and above. They will be allowed to carry and share up to 30 grams of cannabis and cultivate up to four plants in their household for their own consumption – not for sale. Consumers will only be permitted to purchase cannabis from retailers regulated by the authorities of their respective provinces and territories or if these are not available, only from federally regulated producers. Besides, cannabis will not be sold in the same locations as alcohol and tobacco – this rules out buying pot-infused food and drinks in bars, pubs, and clubs. At the same time, the rules concerning impaired driving have been updated to cover cannabis consumption aside from alcohol.
How much of an impact legal cannabis will have on the Canadian economy? Well, conservative estimates speak of billions of dollars. International auditor Deloitte has estimated that the size of Canada’s cannabis market could be as high (!) as $4.3 billion in the first year alone. And this is one of the more conservative estimates – various other estimates speak of market values growing to $5 to $7 billion in the coming years. At the same time, analysts predict that legal pot will cause the sales of alcohol and tobacco to decrease – a win-win, considering the harmful effects of both.
One of the most important effects of legalizing marijuana production, consumption, and sale is that the control of the cannabis market will be pried out of the hands of organized crime groups. Researchers at the University of Ottawa have estimated that the annual cannabis consumption in Canada has reached more than 770,000 kilograms a year – illegally. This has led to more than 70,000 reported marijuana-related offences in 2001 alone (more than 70% of them were for possession) and around 90,000 arrests, costing the country more than $500 million a year. Legal marijuana will cut out all the illegal sales of cannabis to the youth, and provide clear figures on the consumption and production of cannabis in Canada.