On Wednesday, during a special session at UN General Assembly held in New York, Canadian Health Minister Jane Philpott announced enacting a law for recreational marijuana legalization in 2017 that is expected to work in full effect from Spring 2017.
The announcement was especially made on April 20 in Canada because it is celebrated as “weed day” by marijuana lovers from different areas around the world including North America, Canada, Britain and New Zealand. In order to relive the tradition of weed day, hundreds of marijuana enthusiasts gathered outside Canada’s Parliament in Ottawa, Canada, on Wednesday to smoke marijuana, as reported by Reuters.
The move was taken in response to the fulfillment of the vow made by Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during an election campaign in 2016, following several US states permitting easy access to the drug. Canadian PM Mr Trudeau has remained liberal and previously admitted to smoking marijuana a few times in his life but said he never enjoyed it much.
Canada’s Health Minister Ms Philpott, while speaking about drug problems around the world, in a special session of the UN General Assembly in New York (20th April), said, “We will work with law enforcement partners to encourage appropriate and proportionate criminal justice measures. We know it is impossible to arrest our way out of this problem.” She insisted upon the special precautionary measures taken by Canadian government to ensue marijuana is kept away from children and criminals.
The validity of laws treating marijuana as an ill legal drug was affirmed by the former Police Chief Bill Blair from Toronto. He stated that as of now the current laws that make marijuana illegal remain in effect.
It is to be noted that recent undertakings regarding legalization of recreational marijuana are different from the previously used marijuana for medical purposes, according to The Guardian.
Marijuana’s whirlpool has not only affected Canada but had enraged USA to take a decision against it. USA has recently perused its policy against addiction. So, in conformity to anti-addiction aura the US government took action against the pressing issue on Tuesday and declared a complete ban on open use of marijuana in public places or in clubs. The decision was taken by the Council’s Chairman Phil Mendelson after a brief voting session that took place in Washington, DC’s City Council. Despite of the ban, the federal law was violated by using the drug in the states of Colorado, Washington, Oregon and Alaska.
The attempts for the legalization of recreational marijuana also started to gain momentum, when voters from four US states along with District of Columbia directed towards authorizing the cannabis in ballot initiatives. The supporters of the act pushed for similar referendums this year in several other states, including Massachusetts and California.
Different US-based activist groups are keen on making marijuana legalized. According to the same Reuters’ report from Wednesday, a famous group DCMJ has written to Obama and other senior government officials asking for a meeting to be held in White House on Monday, in order to discuss various issues regarding marijuana legalization.
Adam Eidinger, who is co-founder of the DCMJ activist group and has led efforts to legalize pot in US, was quoted by Yahoo News as saying, “This meeting is hopefully the beginning of many meetings where the White House will make reforms before this administration’s time ends”.
President Obama has still remained quiet on the issue. However, last year while sharing his thoughts in an interview with VICE, he exclaimed that young people should care more about issues like climate change than legalizing the substance. “First of all, it shouldn’t be young people’s biggest priority… sometimes on the White House website and petitions we get the same. So let’s put it in perspective. Young people, I understand this is important to you, but you should be thinking about climate change, the economy, jobs, war and peace. Maybe way at the bottom you should be thinking about marijuana,” he said.
According to CDC records, medical marijuana refers to using the whole marijuana plant or extracts to treat various diseases for reducing pain and inflammation, controlling epileptic seizures, and for treating mental illnesses and addictions. However, FDA has not recognized or approved the use of marijuana plant as medicine. Statistical data suggests that there are a total of 1,246,170 medical marijuana users in 21 out of 23 US states, as of March, 2016.
However, National Survey on Drug Use and Health estimated lifetime trends of recreational marijuana consumption in 2014 as 44.20% for ages 12 or older, 52.60% for ages of 18 to 25, and 46.10% for ages of 26 or older individuals.
Though it may seem that marijuana is enjoying a ‘weed day’ in Canada and ‘unplaced priority for the youth’ in USA, this controversial ‘medical and recreational drug’ is facing resistance in Canada too. The Canada’s opposition leader, Gerard Deltell, disapproved the actions for pot legalization by stating his concerns for people’s health and told reporters in Ottawa, “That’s one of the worst things you can do to Canadian youth — to open the door to marijuana… it’s wrong, all wrong”.