Canada opens the door of the developed world to recreational cannabis | Society

Canada opens the door of the developed world to recreational cannabis | Society

The legalization of marijuana for recreational use He won an important battle on Wednesday when he managed to enter Canada. It is not the first country in the world to take this step, celebrated with long lines of customers eager to buy it but received with caution by the markets. The pioneer was Uruguay last year, he sells the drug in pharmacies. But the demographic weight of the North American giant – 36 million, of which 4.9 million are consumers, more than the entire population of Uruguay, which is 3.5 million – and economic – in Uruguay sales have been about 35 million this year against the 3,300 million illegal sales last year in Canada-; its membership in the G-7, the OECD and its renewed free trade treaty with the United States give the decision a weight that the Uruguayan initiative did not have. Despite this, it is the country of Donald Trump that houses the most population that can buy cannabis legally and without medical indication. It is allowed in eight States.

This permissiveness is foreseen Let the other giant of the north, Mexico, join soon. The outgoing president, Enrique Peña Nieto, whose mandate expires on December 1, modified the General Health Law in June 2017 to legalize the use of the plant for therapeutic purposes. The regulatory development will correspond to his successor, Andrés Manuel López Obrador. But this regulation threatens to fall short very soon. In November 2005, the Supreme Court granted amparo to four people to cultivate, transport and consume marijuana for recreational purposes. Since then, four similar amparos have been granted. One is missing for the decision to become jurisprudence and de facto to reach a regulation of the recreational use of drugs. If this does not arrive by this route, an expert who knows the drafting work of the law, who asks not to be cited by name, ensures that the roadmap of Mexican legalization follows the path of a norm raised in the Senate in 2016 inspired by the Uruguayan example, which would lead to the recreational use of the substance.

Ian Power was the first Canadian to legally buy recreational marijuana in his country. He did just after a few minutes of Wednesday 17 in Newfoundland and Labrador, east of the country. "I am delighted. I'm so happy that I can not stop smiling, "he told CBC News. Power received the herb from Bruce Linton, CEO of Canopy Growth, the largest producer authorized by the Canadian government.

According to a survey made public this Wednesday, 70% of Canadians support legalization. Statistics Canada published a report earlier this year that indicates that 4.9 million people consumed at least 20 grams of cannabis in 2017, for a total of 5,600 million Canadian dollars (about 3,700 million euros). Only 10% corresponded to medical marijuana, legal in Canada since 2001. In 2016 in the world, according to the latest on the UN Drugs, 192.2 million people consumed cannabis and seizures of just over 4,500 tons were registered.

The legalization of recreational marijuana inaugurates an industry of considerable dividends in this North American country. According to estimates of CIBC, one of the largest Canadian banks, the legal market will generate some 6,500 million in the first year. 75% of taxes will go to the provinces and the remaining 25% will go to the central Administration.

There are currently 188 authorized producers in Canada (both medical and recreational cannabis). The four big companies in the sector are Canopy Growth, Tilray, Aurora Cannabis and Aphria. Its market value is 45,000 million Canadian dollars (about 30,000 million euros). "Its growth has been spectacular. Investors speculate bluntly about the potential growth of these companies, "said Gérald Fillion, economic analyst at Radio-Canada.

30 grams maximum

Buyers Canadian law states that buyers must be over 18 years of age. Quebec plans to raise it to 21 years.

Quantity. Each buyer can purchase a maximum of 30 grams. In provinces like Newfoundland, it will not be possible to consume in public places, in others yes.

Home. The law allows to have up to four floors in a house.

Establishments The sale in some States will be in the hands of private companies. In others, public offices will be opened.

Abstinence. The different states of the country have established periods of abstinence to police and other public employees, ranging from 28 days to others in which they are simply asked to go sober to work.

The measure has shadows. "The legalization of cannabis does not mean that it is a harmless substance. We must insist on it. There are several legal products, such as sugar and alcohol, which we know have consequences. Now, legalizing marijuana is a positive measure simply because the prohibition has been worse, "says Jean-Sébastien Fallu, an expert on addictions at the University of Montreal.

This position is not shared by other addiction specialists. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNDOC) yesterday sent a statement, in which he rejected the initiative. "This decision contravenes the postulates of the conventions for the control of drugs, and undermines the international legal framework on drug control," he said. And he criticized that, given Canada's track record in the fight against illegal narcotics, it should have acted in accordance with international guidelines.

The International Narcotics Control Panel (INCB for its acronym in English, independent but linked to the UNDOC) He also reiterated his rejection of the decision of the Government of Justin Trudeau. With the measure, Canada contributes to "weaken the international legal framework for drug control," he said, and fails to comply with the three UN drug conventions. But he also stressed his concern about the "impact on public health, especially young people, that these political decisions may have." In this area, François Legault, Québec's prime minister, declared that he will present a bill to raise the age to 21 years in his province from the 18 stipulated by state law. He argues that this is what the Canadian Medical Association recommends for the impact of substances on the brain development of young people.

Ignacio Calderón, vice president of the Spanish Foundation for Aid to Drug Addiction (FAD), is suspicious of the message that can be given that it is a low-risk substance, which places it at the level of tobacco and alcohol. Francisco Pascual, president of Socidrogalcohol, agrees and stresses that he has "physical and psychological risks". "Legalize recreational use is an outrage," ditches Calderón. "This is like NATO; of entry, not ", says Pascual. For its part, the Spanish Ministry of Health said yesterday that a legalization of recreational marijuana "is not on the agenda."

Another aspect that has provoked debates in Canada is what will happen to individuals who had a criminal record for possession before legalization. Yesterday, a federal official declared that the criminal record of those who were convicted and served a sentence for possession of up to 30 grams of marijuana, which is now the legal limit, will be eliminated. Some 500,000 people are in this situation. Yesterday, in a tweet, Trudeau summarized the objectives of the measure: "Benefits beyond the reach of criminals. More protection for our children. Today, Canada legalizes and strictly regulates cannabis throughout the country. "


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