TRACING THE HISTORY OF THE FIGHT FOR MARIJUANA LEGALIZATION IN CANADA
- November 4, 2018
On October 17, 2018, Canadians from Alberta and British Columbia to Newfoundland and the Northwest Territories celebrated the legalization of the mind-altering drug called marijuana. In fact, the reaction to the drug was so overwhelming that, within weeks (and days), the country’s dispensaries ran out of stock, meaning that Canadians had to visit alternative locations (such as the marijuana boomtown Alderville). However, what Americans might not know is that the drug had been illegal in Canada for over 100 years, and the country has a particularly complex history with the little green plant. So, how did our neighbor to the north become the first major country to legalize the drug? What steps did it have to take along the road to success? Let’s take a closer look at the history of the fight for marijuana legalization in Canada.
According to historians, the history of marijuana in Canada may have started before white settlers even arrived. In fact, historians recently discovered 500-year old pipes containing traces of a strong variety of tobacco and (of course) hemp in locations across the country. Sometime later, in the 1800s, the Canadian government encouraged farmers to grow the hemp plant, while doctors prescribed marijuana to help patients manage pain.
While the reason behind marijuana prohibition in the country is generally unknown, historians have speculated that Canada was simply following on the heels of the United States, which deemed cannabis unlawful via the 1937 Marijuana Tax Law. Even more interesting, records indicate that arrests for marijuana possession did not increase until weed counterculture skyrocketed in the 1960s, with 2,300 people being arrested in 1968. As protests and outrage exploded across the country, the Canadian government issued the De Lain Commission (1969) to investigate the legal status of marijuana.
In the 1990s, 80% of Canadians had voiced support for the little green plant in elections, and the public was introduced to a man named Terrence Parker. Suffering from a rare form of epilepsy, Parker had undergone multiple surgeries due to his correction, and his doctor claimed that marijuana was the only medication that had helped. Nevertheless, Parker was arrested for owning and cultivating marijuana in 1987. Finally, in 2000, the Canadian Court appealed to the patient, but his case spurned outrage from his lawyers, who claimed his arrest violated the Charter Act.
From 2000 to 2015, Canada entered its “awkward stage,” when officials danced back and forth over the concept of legalization, and it was not until 2016 and the emergence of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (a supporter of the drug) that the little green plant stood a chance. After years of debate, the government finally legalized marijuana on October 17, 2018.
Always remember that marijuana does not have control over your life. You do. Are you suffering from a substance use disorder or a severe form of addiction? Do you have a friend or family member suffering from one or more of these debilitating illnesses? If you do, get in touch with Asana Recovery today. Our counselors and healthcare experts are ready to walk you through every step of the detox and withdrawal process and rehabilitation and guide you towards living a happier, healthier, and freer lifestyle. While the road to recovery might not be an easy road to travel, we promise to help you every step of the way. Take the first step to stay fit, healthy, and safe.
The time for you to take back control of your life is now. If you are interested in one of our residential treatment or supervised detoxification/withdrawal programs, we are ready and waiting to speak with you at your disclosure. Call Asana now at (949) 438-4504 to learn how to overcome your drug abuse or addiction troubles today.