How the Cannabis Act Has Changed Marijuana Use in Canada.

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( It has been well over a year since the federal Canadian government legalized recreational cannabis across the nation. Up until recently, Canadians were only allowed to consume cannabis for medical purposes, but that all changed on October 17th, 2018.

Since the passing of the Cannabis Act on that fateful day in October, a lot has changed for Canadian cannabis users. It’s easier than ever to access buds in just about any part of Canada, but that’s definitely not the only way that the Canadian cannabis industry has changed. With that, one can their fix online these days. No longer needing to head to your local dispensary, as shops such as canadacannabisdispensary, offers a variety of products.

A Brief History of Cannabis in Canada

Cannabis in Canada has come a long way since it was deemed an illegal substance in 1923. In 1937, the first-ever seizure of marijuana was made by Canadian law enforcement, and after that, the number of cannabis convictions just continued to increase.

In the 70s, people started to become much more open-minded about cannabis consumption, and the first pro-cannabis event happened in Vancouver’s Gastown district in 1971. But it wasn’t until 2001 that the government legalized cannabis for medical purposes with the Marihuana for Medical Access Regulations (now known as the ACMPR).

Through this medical program, patients are able to legally cultivate a certain amount of plants from home, only to be used for treating a medical condition. This program has had its ups and downs over the years, but the ACMPR is still going strong for medical patients who prefer to grow plants from home.

In 2017, the government first proposed the Cannabis Act, a series of laws that would officially allow for recreational cannabis use nationwide. Finally near in October of 2018, the Cannabis Act was officially passed by the federal government.

The Basics of the Act

The Cannabis Act lays down the laws for everything in regards to recreational cannabis, including possession, use, cultivation, and purchasing regulations. It allows those of legal age (either 18 or 19 based on the province) to purchase cannabis from a licensed seller.

To purchase cannabis from a legal dispensary, all you need is a government-issued photo ID proving your age. Possession laws state that recreational users can have up to 30 grams of dried cannabis in public, and of course, it’s illegal to transport weed across the Canadian border.

How Has the Marijuana Industry Changed?

Shockingly enough, the Cannabis Act hasn’t had much of an effect on the frequency rate of marijuana consumption for Canadians. A few more citizens have dabbled into cannabis for the first time now that it’s legal, but there hasn’t been a huge spike in consumption rates.

According to statistics from Transform Drugs and the National Cannabis Survey, “survey data suggests the prevalence of cannabis use has remained relatively stable since the reform. After a small rise in the first quarter of 2019, reported consumption went back down to pre-October 2018 levels in the second quarter.”

Many government officials and citizens expected cannabis use to spike as soon as it became legal, but this hasn’t been the case. Some studies suggest that those who were already consuming cannabis prior to the Cannabis Act are consuming more, but this is just speculation.

Medical Patients Have Even Easier Access

Medical cannabis has been legal in Canada since the early 2000s, so there was a lot of concern from medical patients about how the Cannabis Act would affect their lives. As it turns out, the Cannabis Act has led to some changes for medical patients, but only positive ones.

Once recreational laws were passed, a few changes were also made to the ACMPR (Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations). This medical program allows registered ACMPR members to grow a certain amount of plants from home with a doctor’s prescription.

The only major difference that was made to the ACMPR under the Cannabis Act was that all storage limits for growers were eradicated. Although they still have to stay within their allotted plant counts, medical growers are able to store an unlimited amount of homegrown cannabis from home.

On top of that, medical patients have higher possession limits than recreational cannabis users. Every ACMPR grower has a specific possession limit based on his/her prescription size. The current possession laws state that you are allowed to carry either a 30-day supply of dried cannabis or 150 grams in public places (whichever is less).

More People Are Growing from Home

Medical cannabis users have been growing from home with ACMPR licenses since 2001, but did you know that recreational growers are now allowed to cultivate homegrown cannabis as well? Almost every provincial government is allowing its citizens to grow 4 plants from home for recreational purposes.

There are a lot of rules and regulations behind growing from home, but the stats show that more and more Canadians are testing out their green thumbs for the first time. A lot of them end up deciding that it’s too much work and that purchasing bud from a dispensary is more convenient, but some have stuck with it.

Government Cannabis Prices Are Sky High

It’s not surprising that the federal government is trying to make a buck or two off of cannabis-related taxes, but the current cannabis prices are a bit overwhelming. The average cost of one gram of legal, government-approved cannabis is just over $10CAD, while the average cost of illegal weed is about half that.

This can be a big turnoff for regular cannabis users, but others love the fact that they can legally purchase a high-quality product without fearing legal ramifications.

Black Market Cannabis Is Still Going Strong

There has been a slight decrease in black market cannabis transactions, but it’s still somehow managing to keep going strong. The most common age group for black market weed buyers is between 15 and 18 since these individuals are not able to make purchases in legal dispensaries.

The other reason for the thriving black market is the high cost of legal cannabis. Many people are perfectly OK with the risk of purchasing illegal substances since it costs significantly less.

Staff Writer; Fred Shaw