Cannabis has become widely popular in current times, mainly due to its easy availability and contribution to the economy as a multi-billion dollar industry. All of this came to be because of the recent legalization of recreational cannabis in 2018.

The drug is most commonly sought after by young people, typically 35 years old or less. The updated law appealed to this demographic the most, alongside cannabis business owners. In fact, the change in direction to decriminalize the use of recreational marijuana came about in response to popular opinion.

Since Canada legalized cannabis, experts have noticed several changes which occurred as a result of cannabis legalization. This article sheds light on some of the changes brought about in different areas as a consequence of this reform.

Easy Access

Although the drug was already in use for medicinal purposes since 2001, its recreational value was only recently realized. In October 2018, Canada passed the Cannabis Act, which brought significant reforms, allowing regulated distribution and possession of marijuana.

After legalization, the demand to license recreational cannabis growers on a federal level was put forward by authorities. They believed that it would go a long way in helping the consumers and cultivators alike, and encouraging both large and small producers would also reap immense benefits in the long term.

As the drug became readily available, the consumption rate also increased drastically. A report by NCS stated that up to 16.3% of Canadians aged 18 – 24 consume cannabis daily, indicating an increase of 65% since legalization.

The law also permitted consumers to grow their cannabis plant at home using different marijuana seeds, including autoflower seeds. Online cannabis businesses, such as, also benefited greatly from the changes and became a vital resource for convenient access to cannabis products such as weed seeds.

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Cannabis Industry’s Contribution To Economy

According to a survey conducted by the NCS, a higher number of people had legal access to cannabis even before it was declared legal for recreational use. It soon became apparent that people were buying it in the guise of medicinal marijuana.

It didn’t take long for authorities to recognize the industry’s potential due to its high demand, and they immediately started pushing for production on a larger scale. As of 2022, the market size of the cannabis production industry in Canada is $12.0bn when measured by revenue.

The weed industry not only contributed a hefty sum to the economy but also created about 100,000 job openings across Canada in different sectors. 

New business owners felt welcomed in the already booming industry, however, lack of diversity seemed to be an issue in the sector, and multiple sources have quoted the same in their reports.

An increased number of people have become tolerant of cannabis due to legalization, but the industry still needs to work hard to build an inclusive space for everyone.

Impact On Public Health

Marijuana has been linked with public health risks, including impaired driving, cannabis use disorders, addiction, psychosis, and other high-risk behaviors. Many people were against the legalization of cannabis as they believed it only furthers the associated negative consequences.

However, protection for public health and safety was one of the most crucial objectives for cannabis legalization in Canada. They intended to regulate the sale of weed to teens more prone to misuse the drug and provide safe access to people who consume it daily.

The effects of weed vary for each individual, which is why it is difficult to predict the impact of marijuana on public health. Some doctors suggest that it is nothing to be concerned about as the effects are not usually severe, while others suggest that more research is required to establish a standard for the harmful consumption of cannabis.

Criminal Convictions Related To Weed

The recent legalization has significantly reduced the number of criminal convictions in cases related to marijuana consumption. It also suspended records of Canadians and residents on simple marijuana-related charges.

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Moreover, as weed is now legally available, fewer drug gangs perpetuate drug-related violence and participate in the illegal retail of cannabis. It means that police resources, previously invested in investigating these gangs, can now be exercised in other areas.

However, possession of pot is still punishable by a fine or short-term jail in some cases, such as purchasing from an unauthorized retailer through illegal means or possessing more cannabis than the 30gm limit. 

Was It Worth It?

Canada is only the second nation that has legalized cannabis on the federal level. Therefore, it will not be wrong to say it was a rather bold step. However, the Canadian nation saw some exceptionally high numbers as part of the tax revenue collection and profits in the cannabis industry.

They also ensured that the increasing demand for cannabis is fulfilled in an organized manner and that people can access marijuana legally, even for recreational purposes. The steps taken to decrease the number of criminal convictions were commendable, and the impact on public health did not show any adverse effects.

Although harmful effects were not as many as expected in response to the policy change, it is still difficult to confirm anything now as much research is still underway. But from the information we possess at present, it can be said that the decision was undoubtedly a thoughtful one.