The 8 Ways Canada Can Legalize Marijuana

03/02/2016 11:56 EST | Updated 03/03/2017 05:12 EST
Stuart Dee via Getty Images
Canadian flag with maple leaf replaced by marijuana leaf.

The Canadian cannabis community has launched a formal "Parliamentary e-petition" which outlines an eight-point path for legalization. Main points include an immediate end to cannabis arrests, including personal cultivation within legalization, and allowing Canadian farmers to harvest cannabis resin.

Green Party Leader Elizabeth May has sponsored the petition, and we received over 6,000 signatures in our first week online. People can keep signing up until June 9, 2016.

Right now our petition has the 4th most signatures. We'd like to get 50,000 signatures in total. This would give us more support than any other online petition, and keep the pressure on the Trudeau government to act quickly, stop arrests, and get going on legalization.

Check out the details below, then please click here to sign the petition!

The Parliament Petition has eight key points, four of which can happen right away, and four that could take a year or so to put into place.

The first four points, which should happen right away, are:

1. Repeal the prohibition on possession and personal cultivation of cannabis.

This the most important first step and could be done very quickly. We are calling for the Liberal government to immediately stop all arrests for personal possession and for growing cannabis for personal use. There is no need to keep busting people with a bag of cannabis or a few plants when legalization is just around the corner.

2. Repeal Section 462.2 of the Criminal Code, which bans literature and harm reduction devices like waterpipes and vaporizers.

Unbelievably, bongs and waterpipes are still banned in Canada, and stores still get raided by police for selling these items. (See here, here and here for example.) Books which promote the use of cannabis are also still banned. It makes sense to repeal these silly laws right away.

3. Permit patients or their designated grower to provide medical cannabis as recommended by a physician.

This third point is related to the recent court decision which has reaffirmed the right of patients to meet their own medical needs by growing their own cannabis as recommended by a physician. We don't want the government to appeal this decision, and instead to act quickly to ensure that patients can keep growing their own cannabis as needed.

4. End police raids against community medical cannabis dispensaries, and enable their municipal regulation, as per the position of the Union of BC Municipalities.

There are hundreds of community medical cannabis dispensaries opening in cities and towns across Canada. Generally they are operating openly without problems, but in some areas the RCMP has been threatening them or launching raids. Many cities are licensing these dispensaries, but the federal laws are unclear.

The Union of BC Municipalities has asked the federal government to confirm the power of cities to license and regulate dispensaries, and we support that move happening right away.

The next four points are things which we want the Liberals to put into place within one year.

5. Completely end the prohibition of cannabis, by removing it entirely from the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.

To truly end cannabis prohibition, cannabis needs to be removed entirely from the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. Laws and regulations around cannabis should be similar to the laws around alcohol, tobacco, food products and herbal medicines.

6. Allow farmers to harvest and sell the cannabinoid-rich resin from their plants, as per the recent resolution of the Canadian Hemp Trade Alliance.

Canadian farmers already grow large amounts of cannabis, mainly to produce seeds for food products. These farmers also produce large amount of CBD-rich resin which they are forced to destroy.

The Canadian Hemp Trade Alliance has asked the government for permission to harvest and sell this resin for medical purposes, and this would provide a large amount of low-priced CBD for patients in need.

7. For those convicted for a cannabis offence under the CDSA, on a case-by-case basis: Grant a full pardon and amnesty for past offences, expunge criminal records and release all prisoners currently serving time.

Ending cannabis prohibition must also make right the mistakes of the past. When we legalize cannabis we must not forget those who are still in jail now for cannabis, or the many Canadians with cannabis criminal records. We want a quick and easy process for Canadians to apply to have their cannabis criminal records expunged.

8. Permit Provinces, Territories and First Nations to decide how they want to tax, regulate and distribute cannabis as needed.

This final point is that we don't want to see a restrictive federal program in place for cannabis. Like alcohol and tobacco, legal cannabis falls mainly under provincial jurisdiction. We want to see the provinces, municipalities and first nations being responsible for regulating the sale of cannabis.

This will also open up the possibility of different systems, enabling different regions to experiment with different models as we figure out the best model for legal cannabis.


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