In general, prohibition was intended to eliminate or to reduce the problems associated with consumption including criminal activity, over-consumption, driving under the influence and general public safety.
Cannabis became illegal in both Canada and the USA in the early 1920’s, which is almost 100 years ago. It was the LaGuardia Committee Report on Marijuana published in 1944 which contradicted claims made by the U.S. Treasury Department that smoking marijuana is dangerous.
In 1999, Health Canada was forced to grant certain individuals an exemption from the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, in the Section 56 Class Exemption for Individuals Authorized to Possess or to Produce Marihuana for Medical Purposes. Finally, in 2017, a bill to legalize Cannabis was introduced to the Canadian Parliament.
The author of Hempology 101, Ted Smith says the main reason for the prohibition of Cannabis is to enforce and support the economic agenda of a few in a coordinated effort to stop the hemp industry. He also states that until Cannabis is legal for everyone, those who use it medically will continue to face legal barriers and will be discriminated against.
Ted also makes the point that prohibition takes away a person’s dignity when the state (or government) decides no one should be allowed legal access to a certain substance. He recommends the government gives credit to its citizens for having the intelligence to make their own healthy, proper choices. Only then will there be improvements to the disturbing patterns of drug abuse.
The most convincing point Ted makes is that “Prohibition gives an unregulated, untaxed market to semi-organized criminals, while legalization adds new industry to the economy and eliminates costs associated with law enforcement and court.”, which is a reasonable and convincing argument for legalization.
Another advocate for legalization is William Frank Buckley Jr, who is the founder of National Review magazine and is quoted as saying, “Even if one takes every reefer madness allegation of the prohibitionists at face value, marijuana prohibition has done far more harm to far more people than marijuana ever could.”
It was Pierre Trudeau, the 15th Prime Minister of Canada, that created the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms in 1982. The Charter enshrines the rights of individuals against the rights of the states, laying the groundwork for modern Cannabis legalization.
The House of Commons will be passing the final legislation in June 2018 to legalize the recreational use of Cannabis in Canada, which will become effective later in the summer. This will make Canada the first G7 country to fully legalize Cannabis for its citizens.
References: CBC, Wikipedia, Wikipedia, Government of Canada, FEE, Wikipedia, LaGuardia Committee Report on Marijuana, Government of Canada , Hempology 101, The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and Wikipedia and Wikipedia.