Canada Gears Up to Legalize Pot Smoking
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is a rare breed of politician. In the run up to the election, Trudeau made a campaign promise to legalize marijuana. He stated that legalization and strict control of the supply and sale of marijuana would allow the government to implement a marijuana tax, keep it out of the hands of children and cripple organized crime.
We all know that election promises are often meaningless and empty, given only to woo the electorate. However, if media reports are anything to go by, then it appears as if Trudeau will be sticking to his word. In fact, Canada is set to legalize recreational marijuana use by as early as spring of 2017.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Legalize Marijuana
Trudeau's Liberal Government is adamant that there will be no decriminalization before legalization. This means that until the new legislation is in place, the current laws and penalties will remain. Marijuana will remain illegal except for medicinal purposes. There will be no softer approach to sentences for those found to be in contravention of the current laws.
Complete legalization will see Canada dealing with marijuana in much the same way as alcohol and cigarettes. Although the government is yet to explain exactly how it intends to roll out the marijuana legislation, the indications are that marijuana will be available for sale in dedicated retail outlets.
Health Minister Weighs In
Health Minister Jane Philpott told a UN General Assembly Special Session will introduce the new legislation regarding marijuana in the spring of 2017. Minister Philpott is quoted as saying
“Our approach to drugs must be comprehensive, collaborative, and compassionate. It must respect human rights while promoting shared responsibility. And it must have a firm scientific foundation. In Canada, we will apply those principles with regard to marijuana.
To that end, we will introduce legislation [to legally regulate marijuana] in spring 2017 that ensures we keep marijuana out of the hands of children and the profits out of the hands of criminals. While this plan challenges the status quo in many countries, we are convinced it is the best way to protect our youth while enhancing public safety.”
Jane Philpott at UN
Canada intends to monitor road users for marijuana in the same way that DUI's are monitored, by means of a breathalyzer.
Mina Hoorfar, an engineering professor from the University of British Columbia, has developed a handheld device which can detect THC levels from the breath of someone who has been smoking weed. The device, which costs around $15 to manufacture, provides instantaneous results.
Nick-named “the Sniffer” Hoorfar's device is blue-tooth enabled and will allow for smokers to monitor their own THC levels via a smart-phone. The Sniffer is also far more accurate than any competing marijuana breathalyzers and will not lead to a situation where false-positives are detected.
Marijuana has been used recreationally for thousands of years. It was banned under much controversy. As a result, the field of medical marijuana research is still very much in its infancy.
With an ever increasing number of nations decriminalizing and legalizing marijuana, the stage is being set for medical marijuana research to undergo a revolution. Perhaps, with time and scientific backing, recreational marijuana use will be proven to be far less harmful than was originally suspected.