Marijuana is already legal in Washington state and Colorado, as long as it’s an ounce or less and the person who has it is at least 21 years old. But is one ounce good enough for Canadians? How about four ounces?
The policy committee of the B.C. branch of the Liberal Party of Canada discusses this point and a lot more in a draft policy paper entitled Legalization of Marijuana: Answering Questions and Developing a Framework.
“We feel Washington’s one ounce limit may create unnecessary, ongoing enforcement requirements and restrict people growing their own for personal use—where one plant may yield more than an ounce of product,” the draft paper states.
“In this light we recommend a four ounce (.10 kg) limitation be considered for the amount a non-licensed vendor or distributor can purchase or possess without obtaining a special permit, subject to consultation with consumers, distributors, law enforcement and producers. We feel this is reasonable and akin to purchasing a 40 or 60 oz. bottle of vodka or whisky a couple times a year instead of buying a small bottle each month.”
The paper’s authors cite statistics indicating that regular users of marijuana in Canada use an average of one gram a day, or one ounce (28 grams) per month.
They likewise point to the need to establish other limits for cannabis-infused goods, plants for personal use, and marijuana in liquid form. They note that Washington has possession limits of 16 ounces (0.45 kilograms) for cannabis-infused goods and 72 ounces (2.4 kilograms) for cannabis in liquid form.
Citing 2005 figures compiled by the United Nations, the authors note that Canada’s cannabis consumption rate is “one of the highest in the world” at 17 percent of the population aged 15 to 64. That’s higher than Asia (two percent), Europe (five percent), and the U.S. (12 percent). “This translates to 3 million Canadians using marijuana each year,” the authors write.
Released this month, the paper was scheduled to be presented to the public on January 23 at SFU Harbour Centre.
“Once we legalize, then we can regulate the product,” coauthor Sangeeta Lalli told the Straight in a phone interview. “We can regulate the use and safety. And I think that’s important for all Canadians.”