Canadiana – An Exploration of Cannabis in Canada
Explore Canada’s Rich Cannabis History
Appreciate the past, examine the present and imagine the future of cannabis in Canada.
Get to know amazing Canadian cultivars from coast to coast, their attachment to Canadian history, and where the industry is moving next. From classic BC Bud cultivars on the West coast to the famed Jean Guy out East, we’re celebrating Canadian cannabis achievements with our Canadiana campaign.
But before we dive in, let’s explore the meaning of Canadiana, pronounced kəneɪdɪˈɑːnə. Merriam-Webster defines the term as materials concerning or characteristic of Canada, its civilization, or its culture.
Canada is proud to be the second country and the first of the G7 and G20 nations to legalize recreational cannabis use. Those who work in the industry take the responsibility seriously, realizing that the success of this new industry sets a standard for other countries.
Beyond the cult, Canadian strains is also a storied Canadian cannabis history. We’ve come a long way in terms of shifting stigmas and giving cannabis the platform it deserves while providing amazing cannabis innovations along the way. Growers have developed state-of-the-art systems to provide legacy quality cannabis and craft cannabis cultivars. But there is still so much to explore.
To understand where we’re going, we must look at where we’ve come from. To understand the relationship between cannabis and Canadiana, reflection must occur. We take a moment to give thanks to those who paved the way before us to help shape the industry as it stands today.
Cannabis has a long and diverse history in Canada.
Dr. Carl Sagan (1980), “You have to know the past to understand the present.”
Let us start with one of the significant events in history, the prohibition of cannabis back in 1923. Regrettably, Canada was one of the first countries to make consuming cannabis illegal. But why?
The answer is less than satisfying. One factor is the era of prohibition and control during this time, according to this CBC article. Another factor mentioned by Historian Catherine Carstairs is that the roots of prohibition are political in nature. At the time, Canada was under significant international pressure to do so from the League of Nations.
Here are some excerpts regarding cannabis prohibition from the book Hempology 101, published in 2012 by Ted Smith:
- The prohibition of cannabis has always been enforced to support the economic agenda of a few.
- While there are many legal, social, medical, and religious reasons to legalize cannabis, the economic arguments for regulation are the most persuasive.
- Prohibitionists point out the obvious fact that regulating the medical use of cannabis will eventually lead to full-scale legalization.
- Search for the truth about drugs and prohibition at every opportunity!
Canadian Cannabis Timeline
Below is a timeline of some of the more significant events that have happened since the prohibition of cannabis:
- Canada criminalized marijuana in 1923, nearly one hundred years ago.
- The Proprietary and Patent Medicine Act of 1928, influencing labeling requirements.
- First cannabis seizure in Canada made by law enforcement, 1937.
- The Le Dain Commission Report in 1970, opposes the imprisonment of young people for the possession or use of marijuana.
- The first smoke-in was held in Vancouver, resulting in the Gastown Riot in 1971.
- A cornerstone of human rights and the future cannabis litigation, The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms was created on April 17, 1982.
- Margaret Trudeau Arrested Pound of BC Bud, in 1988.
- Diane Riley, Ph.D. report published in 1998, finding that marijuana is more akin to a closed gate than to a gateway.
- Catherine Carstairs report 1999, highlighting political issues of prohibition in Canada.
- MMAR was introduced in 2001 (MMPR in 2013/ACMPR in 2016), making medical cannabis available in Canada.
- Justin Trudeau’s task force was created in 2016, reviewing the initial legislation and the regulatory framework for cannabis legalization.
- The federal Cannabis Act (Bill C-45) came into effect on 17 October 2018 and made Canada the second country in the world, after Uruguay, to formally legalize.
It is the advocates within the community who we thank for the progression of the cannabis industry overall. Those who have given their time and risked their freedom, in some cases. Individuals like Jodie Emery, Marc Emery, Dana Larsen, Ted Smith, Michelle Rainey (RIP), Mr. John Conroy (QC), Kirk Tousaw (retired barrister), Trina Fraser (Brazeau Seller Law), Dr. Sana-Ara Ahmed MD FRCPC, Amanda Siebert, Gill Polard and so on.
Many Canadian-based groups have emerged to help the more at-risk sectors of the community like medical cannabis patients and those who have been incarcerated. Some of these include SheCann Cannabis Inc., Cannabis Amnesty and NORML. There is also a large sector of advocates who anonymously fight for the cause, such as the doctors and patients who first participated in the medical cannabis program here in Canada, back in the early days.
The Future of Cannabis in Canada
We now see a new era of cannabis influencers. While those before paved the way for legalization, the influencers now help reduce cannabis stigmas and showcase the plethora of benefits for varying communities and demographics, furthering forging the cannabis community.
To add to the progression of the industry here in Canada, we’ve seen Licensed Producers really step up to meet consumer demands. With the expansion of 2.0 products, a huge focus on improving cannabis quality and tapping into small-batch growing tactics, our market will be the case-study national recreational cannabis legalization globally. And we are proud to be a part of it.
Visit your local Spiritleaf to grab your slice of Canadiana and stay tuned for more content about cannabis Canadiana and unique Canadian cannabis cultivars.