The Canadian Government made history in October last year after the legalization of cannabis. The plant has been a topic of huge debates because of its previous illegal state. However, with time and research, a strong case has been made for its beneficial attributes. The Cannabis Act is one of the hallmarks of the change in the perception of cannabis. However, there is more to the issue than just making it legal.
SOME CASH IN WHILE MANY ARE CASHLESS
The passing of the Cannabis Law (Bill C-45) is economically promising as it opens up a new product to a pre-existing market. It also means that it was illegal, and many people penalized during that time. It seems tremendously unfair that today people get into the cannabis industry. Meanwhile, there are still those who have a criminal record from having been caught in possession of marijuana in the past.
Many critics to the situation including lawyer and advocate Annamaria Enenajor are calling out the apparent non-committal attitude of the government. It was key to remove the $631 fee which was a tremendous financial hurdle for those affected, but it is not enough. Despite the legalization, there is still a negative stigma for the at least 500,000 Canadians who have a criminal record due to cannabis. This along with the incredibly tedious process to get their records expunged of the infraction is irresponsible.
Legal or not the people with criminal records face a harder time finding employment. They not only face the glaring issue of having a criminal record, but it also affects the perceptions of potential employers. With how excited everyone is about the legalization of recreational marijuana in Canada, there should be an equal vigor to clearing the names of those affected. Instead, people charged with possession are still required to take it upon themselves to clear their names.
NATIONAL LEGALIZATION AND PROVINCIAL CONTROL
Despite the nationwide legalization, rules and regulations on distribution and usage are put on the shoulder of the provinces. As of this writing, Canada is facing some supply concerns especially with the margin of the black market and regular prices ($9.71 per gram purchased legally, $6.51 per gram purchased illegally). Retail cannabis locations will be distributed by region in Ontario, with Toronto reportedly getting 5. Failure to open retail stores before the deadline in April can lead to financial penalties.
Despite things looking good for the avid users of cannabis things are not as simple as it seems. Despite the passing of C-45 there are still plenty of people on the other side of the coin and are not fond of the new law. Reports have come up that local debates are popping up left and right with both private and public institutions adjust to this new development.
It will be a difficult task ahead for those in charge of regulating the use and distribution. The stigma of its involvement in the world of illegal drugs will be tough for cannabis to shrug off, especially with the current public scrutiny it still has. It is a process that combines normalization and education which will ultimately develop a positive public perception.