Canada made cannabis legal today.
The recreational herb became legal across the country as marijuana dispensaries opened their doors to enthusiasts.
The law that was passed by the Senate in June allows adults to buy, use, possess and grow recreational marijuana. In Quebec and Alberta, the legal age is 18, in the rest of the country it is 19.
Newfoundland made history with the first sale of the recreational drug
Marijuana will not be sold in the same location as alcohol or tobacco. Consumers are required to purchase it from retailers regulated by provinces and territories or from federally licensed producers when those options are no longer available. Stringent rules will govern the purchase and use of marijuana, which has the active compound THC, tetrahydrocannabinol, that is responsible for the euphoric psychoactive ‘high.’
Travelling with the herb is still illegal, so people should avoid trying to leave or enter Canada with marijuana as they can face criminal charges.
The production, distribution or sale of cannabis products is still an offense for minors. But authorities are announcing plans to pardon Canadians who have been convicted of possession of 30 grams or less of marijuana.
Some health care professionals, police and other experts are concerned about the consequences of the drug being legal. The Canadian government has made changes to impaired driving laws to address the repercussions of driving under the influence of cannabis. But the impact of that influence is not fully known and concerns health care professionals.
Conservative Party Leader Andrew Scheer says Canadians will see the consequences of the marijuana legalization, particularly regarding young people with still developing brains. He also expressed concerns about marijuana users driving under the influence.
Armed Forces Policy
Members of the Canadian Armed Forces, CAF,will soon be subject to new restrictions regarding their use of cannabis. These include limitations on recreational use 8 hours before duty and in some situations both possession and consumption will be off limits. These include being deployed to an international operation and in any vessel, vehicle and aircrafts under the military’s authority.
For some of the 100,000 CAF members there will be a 24 hour ban on; operating loaded firearms and explosives, performing emergency response duty and loading or maintaining military aircraft.
The military is not alone in its concerns, as many employers are fearful the recreational drug will undermine workplace safety. The RCMP has not yet revealed their plan on a policy for their members use and possession of marijuana.
Canada is only the second country in the world, and the first G7 nation, to legalize marijuana for a nationwide market. Uruguay was the first country to legalize the production, sale and consumption of marijuana in December 2013.
Medical marijuana is legal in some form in 30 of the United States, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Nine state in the U.S. and the District of Columbia now allow recreational marijuana use.