The race to legalize marijuana, Canada vs the United States, who will cross the finish line
In the U.S a sentence for life in prison without parole was given for trying to sell US 10 dollars’ worth of marijuana to an undercover officer. The U.S is the only country in the world where people caught with marijuana are sent to prison for a maximum sentence. The penalties for possession of marijuana is strict and there is no escaping jail time for having drugs. Times have changed greatly and so does the perceptions of the American people, towards legalizing pot. A vast percentage of the U.S population is pushing for legislative change to allow marijuana to be used for recreational purposes. As of recently, Canada and other states in the U.S are in the process of potentially legalizing marijuana. This could easily turn into a race between the two countries looking to cross the finish line.
The prime minister of Canada Justin Trudeau had recently announced a bill that will finally legalize marijuana for medical use. This will potentially make Canada the second country in the world to legalize marijuana. Trudeau legislative bills will likely aim at minimizing marijuana abuse and improve on outdated legislative systems. Legalizing marijuana in Canada is a huge strategic move, one that could see reduced in budget-related spending in criminal cases and more Canadians using marijuana. This bill came at a pivotal time when more states in the U.S are moving forward to legalize marijuana.
California was the first state in the U.S to legalize marijuana in 1996, followed by several other states. Currently, there are 29 states where marijuana is legal for medical and recreational use. As of recently, more states are in the process to further legalize marijuana. States where marijuana is legal to have seen a massive amount of revenue generated from marijuana sales, including Colorado, which makes roughly around 271 million in 2016. States looking to legalize marijuana could potentially see comparable revenues.
President Trudeau moves to legalize marijuana in Canada comes at a time when Ron Wyden U.S senator from Oregon has been pushing to legalize marijuana. In Ron Wyden statement on Twitter, he stated “that federal marijuana policy is an issue where the government is light years behind the times. Jeff Sessions & the Trump admin are still trying to fight a 1980s drug war that’s socially unjust, economically backward & against the will of the American people”. Since posting on December 20, Jon Wyden tweet has received around 2,000 likes and over 900 retweets.
Here is what you need to know
In 2015, there were four states in which you could purchase marijuana legally, however, there were certain requirements. Residents in Alaska, for instance, could only use marijuana for medical purposes, legally native Alaskans could grow up to 12 plants in a household, with two adults over 21. Colorado residents could use marijuana for both recreational and medical purposes, it was legal to grow up to six plants for an individual. Oregon marijuana legislation was comparable to Alaska, marijuana could be used for both recreational and medical purposes, the law required that residents had to be 21 years of age to cultivate 4 plants per household, since January 2016 cultivators could transport up to 1oz without violating the law. Washington residence could use marijuana for medical and recreational use, but the law in Washington was more sophisticated. In Washington, you need a licensing to sell, grow and produce marijuana. The application fee for licensing cost up to US250 and well over US1400 for insurance and renewal. Residence in other states who are caught selling marijuana-related drugs could be charged with misdemeanor and felony depends on the size of the marijuana found in their possession.
Canada is currently in the beginning phase of legalizing marijuana. This could take some time, but as for now, it is unclear on the level of sophistication president Trudeau will implement to regulate marijuana use. More than likely businesses in Canada will need a license to sell marijuana. For all, we know the Canadian marijuana legislative laws might be of similarity to the U.S legislative laws.
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