Canada decriminalised the use of marijuana on October 17, making it the second country to do so after Uruguay.
Bill C-45, The Cannabis Act, legalises possession of up to 30 grams of marijuana for anyone over the age of 18. The Canadian Parliament voted in June with a result of 52 in favour and 29 against.
The main aim of the act is to regulate and control the use of marijuana in the country, especially for minors.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Twitter: “It’s been too easy for our kids to get marijuana – and for criminals to reap the profits.”
The decriminalisation of marijuana allows for far easier regulation of the quality and purity of the substance and makes it generally safer for people who use it. It also takes profits away from the gangs who usually circulate cannabis products.
Advocates for legal marijuana often argue against viewing cannabis consumption and possession as a criminal issue and suggest looking at it as a health and addiction issue.
Since Portugal took this approach its drug use per person fell, as well as its mortality rates for harder drugs. Portugal has invested money into addiction and support services, and hopefully, Canada will follow suit.
Cannabis is still not legal in Ireland. Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said earlier this year that decriminalisation of cannabis was “under consideration”.
The Green Party announced their support for this motion and said that they wanted to bring an Amsterdam style cannabis coffee shop culture to Ireland. In addition, they want people 18 and over to be allowed to possess up to five grams of marijuana, as well as being able to cultivate up to two plants for medicinal or personal use.
Under EU law, the use of cannabis oil and products with less than 0.2 per cent THC is legal, allowing for the opening of Blooms Café, a cannabis café in Waterford. This is a small victory for the pro-cannabis crowd in the country and a step towards what the Green Party is advocating.
The Irish public seems to support the proposal of decriminalising cannabis. A poll on the Irish Independent shows that 94 per cent of readers are in favour of the Green Party’s policy.
The government, however, haven’t made much – if any – progress on the issue. The Irish National Drugs Strategy’s report showed that among people who used cannabis in the last year, 32.1 per cent of people who answered could be considered “cannabis dependent”.
By: Jay Gorman
Image Credit: Cannabis Culture