In the recent past, Canada has taken steps to, and has successfully legalized cannabis, following the trend of some states in the United States of America.
Canada, however, is legalizing on the federal level, leading some to examine how this may impact America’s efforts to do the same should Congress decide to go down that route.
Whether or not the United States chooses to legalize, the decision of Canada to legalize on a federal level is altering and in some ways shaping the relationship between the two countries, with some concerned that further complications may occur if the United States continues to ban the use of cannabis at the federal level.
Canada: Leading by Example
Canada passed the Cannabis Act, which allows provinces to choose on their own volition whether or not to allow cannabis use. This would provide a way for states in America to decide whether or not to allow for usage if cannabis became federally legalized.
Those who wish to legalize cannabis on a federal level will be able to collect data from Canada that will show the statistics related to this bill passing. Over time, it will be observable whether legalization helps or hurts society.
Steps the United States can (and maybe should) Follow
Now that Canada has used this procedure to legalize cannabis, the United States may be wise to take notes and potentially even emulate this process during their own path towards legalization.
1) Assemble a Federal Task Force
This task force made the effort to research any issues that may arise before the bill was presented and crafted responses to those issues. Provincial control is a major factor of this bill, but there are still ways for smokers to get ahold of cannabis online in provinces that do not legalize on a regional level.
2) Taxation for Legalization
By modestly taxing cannabis sales, the government can add to its funds. We have seen states, such as Denver, use this income to improve housing shelters and schools.
3) Regulate a Minimum Age
Although the black market for cannabis will still exist, this provides a legal precedence of required age for cannabis use. Canada has set its minimum age at 18, and there are criminal penalties for underage possession and use.
4) Packaging Laws
Although Canada’s packaging laws are a little too strict, the idea is a good one. Labels can let consumers know what is in a product, how it differs from other products, where it came from, and other information.
Observation Leads to Improvement
By watching Canada, the United States will be able to see where the Cannabis Act needed more assistance and where it succeeded. Then, the United States will be able to work this knowledge when crafting their own version of the Cannabis Act.
When it comes to the border between the United States and Canada, there is a lot of uncertainty.
The change in laws could have a significant impact on:
For United States tourists traveling to Canada:
It will be legal to buy and consume cannabis.
Cannabis can be brought on planes between two Canadian cities
Provincial rules will vary and must be researched.
Cannabis is never allowed to cross international borders, and this will remain true at the Canadian/United States border. This may result in Canadian citizens and cannabis-related business owners from being denied entry at the border while cannabis is still illegal on the federal level in the United States.
Even though states along the border usually have cannabis legalization at the state level, borders are federal property. Until legalization occurs at the federal level, border laws will not change.
Some states offer cannabis tours, that resemble winery tours popular across the nation. This gives tourists the chance to try different varieties of cannabis and experience local hotspots.
This is also gaining traction in Canada. Those who travel to Canada will be able to participate in activities like this while in Canada but will be unable to bring home any consumable “souvenirs”.
Opening the Dialogue for Change
The United States has already seen the positive effects of legalization of both recreational and medicinal cannabis use at the state level. Now that Canada has legalized at the federal level, there is the opportunity to see how this policy affects citizens.
If the United States does not follow with federal legalization, more Canadians may be denied access to the United States. This could also hamper business relations and make it difficult for a cannabis-related business to grow.
Cannabis is quickly becoming popular in the health and wellness industry, and federal involvement in cannabis offers many benefits, such as:
Taxes that can go towards improving communities
The regulation of cannabis supply
Funded research into better consumption methods and strains
Establishing laws for packaging, age of use, and other factors
Eliminating the black market by pricing it out
The use of cannabis has many alleged benefits, but the main benefit of federal legalization is the safety of use by consumers.
The Future of Legalization
As more information emerges regarding cannabis and its benefits, more governments are considering legalization. Legalizing on the federal level removes the conflict between the states and the federal government.
Drug tests for federal jobs will no longer be an issue for those who need medical cannabis to treat various medical conditions. People traveling from one state to another will not have to fear being pulled over with what was a legal supply in their state. Prisons will have room for people who have committed real crimes.
Canada’s high is hanging above the United States. Will it drift down to cover their downstairs neighbors in euphoria? Find out with more insight on legalization from Hemperco!
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