Nearly a century of marijuana prohibition came to an end as Canada became the first major Western nation to legalize and regulate its sale for recreational use.
The change was praised by pot enthusiasts and investors in a budding industry that has seen pot stocks soar on the Toronto and New York stock exchanges, but sharply questioned by some health professionals and opposition politicians.
“We’re not legalizing cannabis because we think it’s good for our health. We’re doing it because we know it’s not good for our children,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on the eve of the reform.
Bill Blair, a former police chief in Toronto who is Trudeau’s point man for pot legalization, remains optimistic.
“For almost a century, criminal enterprises had complete control of this market, 100 percent of its production and distribution and they profited in the billions of dollars each year. I suspect they’re not going to go gently into the night,” he told AFP.
The Cannabis Act, which fulfils a promise Trudeau made in the 2015 election campaign, makes Canada only the second nation after Uruguay to legalize the drug.
Trudeau himself admitted to having smoked pot five or six times in his life, including at a dinner party with friends after being elected to parliament.
A new industry is born
Under the new regulations, Canadians at least 18 or 19 years old (soon to be 21 in Quebec) will be allowed to buy up to 30 grams of cannabis, and grow up to four plants at home. (SOURCE: Agence France-Presse)