The Devil Is in the Details

Canada’s legalization of marijuana raises a host of policy and health questions

The federal government’s move to legalize the recreational use of marijuana in October 2018 raises many questions about what this will mean for Canada and Canadians. Canada is only the second country in the world to formally legalize the drug and the first G7 country to do so. The government made the move to deal with a situation where, as the 2015 Liberal campaign platform noted, illegal cannabis falls into the hands of minors, large profits are generated by organized crime, and many people are trapped in the criminal justice system for what is arguably a victimless crime. While the legalization of marijuana in Canada begins with a straightforward change to the Criminal Code, its ramifications go far beyond this. It will have a serious impact on the country’s international treaty commitments, interprovincial relations, taxation, and regulatory regimes. And, of course, it will have a profound impact on social and...