On Wednesday Canadian Government became the first major Western nation to legalise and regulate the sale of marijuana for recreational use.
The change was praised by pot enthusiasts and investors in a budding industry that has seen pot stocks soar on the Toronto and New York stock exchanges, but sharply questioned by some health professionals and opposition politicians.
“We’re not legalising cannabis because we think it’s good for our health. We’re doing it because we know it’s not good for our children,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on the eve of the reform. “We know we need to do a better job to protect our children and to eliminate or massively reduce the profits that go to organised crime.”
The Cannabis Act, which fulfils a promise Trudeau made in the 2015 election campaign, makes Canada only the second nation after Uruguay to legalise the drug. Its implementation will be scrutinised and dissected by Canadians ahead of the next election in 2019, as well as other nations that the prime minister has said may follow suit if the measure proves a success. Trudeau himself admitted in 2013 to having smoked pot five or six times in his life, including at a dinner party with friends after being elected to parliament.