… marijuana should be legal.
Canadian legislation to legalize recreational marijuana passes the Senate, a new poll indicates Americans overwhelmingly support legalization – regardless of party affiliation – and New York’s Department of Health is prepared to issue a report that recommends the state legalize marijuana.
An outstanding week for those in the Great White North, it’s time to drill down on some of the noteworthy headlines for the North American marijuana industry during the week ending Saturday, June 23, 2018.
Canadian Legalization Awaits ‘Royal Assent’
Canada overturned nearly 100 years of marijuana prohibition. On Tuesday, June 19, 2018, the Senate passed landmark legislation in a 52-29 vote that establishes the rules and regulations for Canada’s newest billion-dollar industry – legal marijuana.
Canada will be the first major national economy to legalize recreational marijuana use. A Senate vote gave provinces a few months to prepare. https://t.co/1IGpFsoNdU
— The New York Times (@nytimes) June 20, 2018
The bill, C-45, having already passed the House of Commons, will now be sent to the Governor General for final approval, or royal assent. Once royal assent is granted, the last obstacle on Canada’s long road to legalization north of the 49th parallel will be cleared, and recreational marijuana sales will begin Oct. 17, 2018.
I don't even smoke marijuana. I just really like math.
— Kevan McDougall (@ForKevansSake) June 20, 2018
Jody Wilson-Raybould, Canada’s Minister of Justice, characterized the passage as a “historic milestone for progressive policy in Canada,” on Twitter.
#C45 has passed the Senate – this is an historic milestone for progressive policy in Canada as we shift our approach to cannabis. This legislation will help protect our youth from the risks of cannabis while keeping profits out of the hands of criminals and organized crime. (1/2) pic.twitter.com/guaWrS1kHG
— Jody Wilson-Raybould (@Puglaas) June 19, 2018
The first G-7 nation to legalize recreational marijuana, Canada is allowing its 10 provinces and three territories to establish their own rules with regards to distribution. As officials in British Columbia, Newfoundland, and Saskatchewan announced divergent plans on opening local stores, Ontario has rolled out plans to open approximately 150 marijuana shops by 2020.
68 Percent of Americans Support Legalization
Americans overwhelmingly support marijuana legalization, according to a new survey published by GBA Strategies and the Center for American Progress. Asked in an online survey if they “support or oppose the legalization of marijuana,” 68 percent of 1,000 registered voters responded they either “strongly” (40%) or “somewhat” (28%) support legalization.
At historic highs, marijuana legalization was supported by the majority of those surveyed – regardless of party affiliation, race, or gender:
— Drug Policy Alliance, National Affairs (@DPA_ONA) June 20, 2018
The survey, conducted between April 25 and May 1, 2018, had one last gift for those with past marijuana offenses. The poll showed significant support for a proposal to seal the criminal records of nonviolent marijuana offenders.
New York Department of Health (DOH) to Recommend Legalization
In a report yet to be finalized and released, New York Health Commissioner Howard Zucker said the Empire State is poised to green-light some form of recreational marijuana program.
The New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker says the benefits outweigh the negatives. https://t.co/wFIxNGv7nH
— news10nbc (@news10nbc) June 19, 2018
“The pros outweigh the cons, and the report recommends a regulated legal marijuana program be available to adults in the state of New York,” Zucker said.
Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo first announced he was ordering the report from the Department of Health during his State of the Union address. Requested as a means of assessing the impact of marijuana reform in nearby states, Cuomo has historically been skeptical of legalizing recreational marijuana. While Cuomo referred to marijuana a “gateway drug” as recently as February 2017, by January 2018 the governor was saying the pertinent “facts have changed” on the topic.
As America’s neighbors to the north prepare to embrace nationwide legalization on Oct. 17, 2018, America’s democratic philosophy has fallen under the microscope of scrutiny. While a solid majority of Americans support marijuana reform, elected officials have so far refused to respond to the will of the people. But as the 2018 midterm elections rapidly approach, that resistance may soon change. With marijuana initiatives going before the voters of several states, Nov. 6 will be the date that voters can once again flex their political muscles.