Canada Inspires Legalization Proponents in Other Nations
Despite the difficult rollout, there is no doubt that Canada’s decision to legalize cannabis has been monumental. As the first G7 country to fully lift prohibition on the drug, Canada has sent a clear message that legalization is nothing to be feared. As CBC News reports, it appears that several countries received that message, loud and clear.
But as attitudes shift in other countries, Canada has seen some changes as well.
Significant Shift in Attitude Among Canadians
As with many countries where prohibition is under fire, support for unbanning cannabis in pre-legalization Canada was overwhelming. However, CBC News says that this all changed after October, 2018:
“A new Dalhousie University study out [May 9th] suggests that support for legalization has dropped to 50.1 per cent, down 18.5 per cent from their last poll in 2017. And 20.3 per cent of respondents now express ambivalence about last October’s change to allow recreational use.”
While CBC News does not offer any explanation for the drop, it is fair to say that many Canadians were disillusioned by the many issues with Canada’s current marijuana framework. Supply problems and high prices are just two major concerns, but both are expected to resolve themselves in the coming years.
At the same time, however, Statistics Canada shows an increase in cannabis use – especially among middle-aged men. However, the stigma surrounding marijuana is still going strong, as is evidenced by the following:
“Almost 19 per cent of the 1,051 people surveyed [by Dalhousie University] said they would be concerned about being seen purchasing legal pot, with slightly more than a quarter of respondents saying they wouldn’t want coworkers to know that they toke.”
So we now have an interesting contrast. A massive drop in support for legalization coupled with a notable increase in cannabis use, which is still a source of shame for some.
Other Nations Stepping Up
Most notably, the United States is well on its way to federal legalization – a move that would overshadow Canada’s landmark decision by leaps and bounds.
CBC News explains that 60 percent of Americans support legalization of cannabis. Even very conservative states are softening their stance, with Texas recently decriminalizing the drug.
But that is far from all. According to CBC News:
“This past weekend, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced that he has struck a cross-party deal to legalize recreational cannabis use starting next year. If the deal holds, Illinois will become the 11th state with legal weed.
Connecticut may be the 12th, after the last key component of a state legalization bill passed the committee stage last week.
New Jersey and New York are also debating legalization legislation, although both states seem more inclined to kick the can down the road a bit and put it to the public in a referendum.
Thirty-three U.S. states now allow the medicinal use of cannabis. And last month, New Mexico became the 24th state to decriminalize marijuana, signing legislation that makes use and possession punishable by a $50 fine, rather than a prison term.”
New Zealand also put the question of full legalization up to referendum. If the people approve to lift prohibition, the law will change under the next government following the 2020 federal election.
Thanks to several Supreme Court rulings, Mexico is also being compelled to change its laws and legalize cannabis.
In fall of 2018, South Africa’s Supreme Court also legalized marijuana. Under their regulations, adults may purchase the drug and use it in private areas.
Georgia, Jamaica, Belize, St. Kitts, Argentina, Colombia and Ecuador also made changes to their cannabis policies.
Exactly how much of this is due to Canada’s decision is unclear. However, one thing we do know is that for the first time in a while, countries are not afraid to challenge an archaic and ultimately ineffective prohibition.
WeedAdvisor’s Eye on International Developments
WeedAdvisor wants to see cannabis reform branch out beyond our home country. This is why we are encouraged by the many new developments all across the world.
Legalization abroad opens the door for open connections. WeedAdvisor already has access to a network of industry individuals situated throughout the world. Ultimately, we hope to make the marijuana industry as globally interconnected as possible.