Tuesday, March 28, 2017

How Do Other Countries Regulate Marijuana

Now that it appears that the Canadian government will legalize the recreational use of marijuana in Canada by July 1, 2018, it might be interesting to look at what the policies are currently here and  how other jurisdictions have handled the issue of legalization/decriminalization.

Last year, the Library of Parliament produced two documents on the topic.

The first is a brief overview in its HillNotes blog entitled The Regulation of Marijuana under Canadian Law:
"Marijuana, otherwise known as cannabis, has been legally prohibited in Canada since 1923. The 2002 report of the Senate Special Committee on Illegal Drugs noted that there was little debate surrounding this addition to the criminal law at the time; as such, the precise motivation for doing so remains unclear."

"Today, the prohibition of cannabis is found in the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (CDSA), which makes it an offence to possess, traffic, import and export, or produce cannabis."

"Penalties upon conviction for these offences range from a fine for the least serious possession offences to potential life imprisonment for the most serious trafficking offences. Sentences are more severe if the amount of cannabis involved is large."

"Mandatory minimum sentences apply if certain factors are present, such as the threat or use of violence or a weapon in the commission of the offence. A mandatory sentence need not be applied if an offender successfully completes a drug treatment program."
The article also looks at how marijuana is regulated in other jurisdictions such as the states of Washington and Colorado, Uruguay, Portugal and the Netherlands.

The second is a background paper on The Legal Regulation of Marijuana in Canada and Selected Other Countries:
"This document discusses the legal regulation of marijuana in Canada and in a number of other jurisdictions. After some material on marijuana itself, it provides an overview of the international drug control regime, including current debates surrounding the possible reform of this regime and the outcomes of the 2016 United Nations General Assembly Special Session on the World Drug Problem, which took place in April 2016. The document then turns to the legal treatment of marijuana in Canada, including the prevalence of use of marijuana in this country. It then examines different regulation approaches - including legalization and decriminalization - in a number of jurisdictions."
Those jurisdictions include Uruguay, the United States, Portugal, Spain, and the Netherlands.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:50 pm


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