Cannabis in Canada Pt 2
Part Two: A (very) brief history of Cannabis in Canada
It is not the first time in the nation’s history that efforts have been made to decriminalize the drug. It was in 1923 that cannabis became a prohibited substance under The Opium and Narcotic Drug Act. Although cannabis was prohibited in the 1920’s, it was in the late 60s and early 70’s that cannabis use became prevalent, at which point The Commission of Inquiry into the Non-Medical Use of Drugs, more commonly referred to as the ‘Le Dain Commission’, was formed. The Commission recommended the decriminalization of simple possession of Cannabis, of which there was interest among Canadians. There was also political interest in the implementation of the commission’s recommendations, and in 1974 legislation on cannabis-control reform was brought to the House of Commons. However, the political interest faded, and it wasn’t until 2002 that this interest arose again.
The Report of the Senate Special Committee on Illegal Drugs, entitled “Cannabis: Our Position for a Canadian Public Policy” was released in 2002. The Committee reported observing that “public opinion on marijuana is more liberal” than it had been 10 years prior and that “there is a tendency to think that marijuana is not a dangerous drug”, and finally “there is a tendency to favour decriminalization or, to a lesser degree, legalization”. The Committee concluded that continued criminalization of cannabis was unjustified based on the scientific data on the danger it poses, and recommend a regulatory approach to cannabis. However, these recommendations were not implemented, and cannabis had remained a prohibited substance.
Links to articles in this series:
- Part 1. The Road to Legalization: Why Canada and Why Now?
- Part 2. A (very) brief history of Cannabis in Canada.
- Part 3. The Cannabis Task Force - Summary of Feedback and Recommendations.
- Part 4. Rushed Legislation and Policy-making.
- Part 5. The Debate over Age Requirements.
- Part 6. Provincial Distribution Models.
- Part 7. The Taxation of Cannabis.
- Part 8. Evidence-Based Policy?
- Part 9. The Future of Edibles.
- Part 10. Public Safety and the Issue of Impaired Driving.
- By Heather Webster