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Legalizing Marijuana Could Bring the Government More Green

Canadians celebrating the legalization of cannabis.

Canadians celebrating the legalization of cannabis.

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Canadian marijuana users patiently waited in line on October 17th to become some of the first in the nation to buy newly legalized recreational pot. Canada has now become the second country in the world, after Uruguay, to legalize recreational and medical cannabis usage. This could be the start of more nations and regions—including the U.S. and the states within it—legalizing the drug, starting with our very own state of New Jersey.

So, what does Canada’s new law say about buying marijuana in the country? Canada’s marijuana law, also known as the Cannabis Act, allows adults ages 18 or older to buy cannabis in Quebec and Alberta, and adults ages 19 or older to purchase the drug in the rest of the country. According to CNN, marijuana will not be sold at tobacco or liquor stores, and consumers will only be allowed to buy it from federally-licensed producers and retailers regulated by Canadian provinces. The Cannabis Act will soon pardon those who were previously convicted of having 30 grams or less of marijuana in their possession as well. The law allows only certain forms of the cannabis plant to be sold and used. The flower, seeds, and oil are fair game, but edible cannabis products won’t be legal until next year. Prices of different marijuana products will vary, but the Canadian government is seeking to compete with illegal black market prices.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau aspires for legalized marijuana to be easily accessible to those who are of legal age and to keep underage users from illegally purchasing the drug. He tweeted on June 19th, “It’s been too easy for our kids to get marijuana—and for criminals to reap the profits. Today, we change that. Our plan to legalize & regulate marijuana just passed the Senate. #PromiseKept.” Canadians believe that they are a rising and innovative nation. In an interview with the New York Times, Marco Beaulieu, a resident, says, “Canada is once again a progressive global leader. We have gay rights, feminism, abortion rights, and now we can smoke pot without worrying police are going to arrest us.” These freedoms that Canadians are granted brings pride to the nation’s citizens.

Meanwhile, in New Jersey, the legalization process for marijuana has been pushed back. Politicians in Trenton are delaying the process due to certain billing rights and their preference to completing the process as thoroughly as possible. Marijuana support in New Jersey is strong, according to a new poll from NJ.com. According to the website, 58% of New Jerseyans said that they support personal possession and use of marijuana. Proponents of legalizing the drug look to Colorado as a shining example–even with a population smaller than that of New Jersey, Colorado has made over $1 billion annually on marijuana. New Jersey is also predicted to make approximately $1 billion dollars in profits from the drug. However, lawmakers fear that taxing the plant too heavily will lead users to buy marijuana illegally. 

 

As the new legal status of marijuana settles into Canada, perhaps New Jersey will take note of the benefits and shortcomings of legalizing the drug. For now, New Jersey doesn’t look like it’s making much progress. On October 29, 2018, a vote to legalize cannabis was shelved.

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Priscilla Song, Managing Editor

Priscilla Song (‘20), Managing Editor, enjoys writing and reading. In her free time, she also likes to spend time with her family and participate in...

Kosei Dohi, Astronomy Blogger

Kosei Dohi ('21) is the Astronomy Blogger for The Echo. He is interested in astronomy and likes to play soccer in his free time. His favorite subject is...

Olivia Westfield, Staff Writer

Olivia Westfield ('19) is a Staff Writer for The Echo. Her hobbies, in addition to writing, include serving as the Class of 2019 secretary as well as secretary...

Ismail Khassa, Staff Writer

Ismail Khassa ('20) is a Staff Writer for The Echo. He enjoys sports and is currently on the Tenafly track team. His favorite basketball player is Kelly...

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Legalizing Marijuana Could Bring the Government More Green