(This article is presented by Treymark.)
Canada passes the Cannabis Act:
Earlier this year, Parliament passed the Cannabis Act legalising the recreational use of cannabis. This was passed by the Senate by a vote of 52-29. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was among the political advocates for the Cannabis Act. After the passing of the new law, Trudeau tweeted, “It’s been too easy for kids to get hold of marijuana—and for criminals to reap the profits. Today we change that.”
According to Statistics Canada, Canadians spent an estimated $6 billion on "black market" cannabis. In terms of the amount, $6 billion is equal to 697.5 tonnes of cannabis. Leaving no doubt that updated legislation was needed in Canada.
What does the new legislation mean?
As it stands the new cannabis law covers the following:
- Adults (aged over 18 and aged over 19 in some provinces) may legally carry up to 30 grams (1 ounce) of dried cannabis in public;
- cannabis oil will become legal;
- adults may purchase cannabis online at federally licensed producers;
- adults may grow up to four cannabis plants;
- and edibles will not be made legal at this time.
When do the new laws take effect?
Recently, Prime Minister Trudeau confirmed the new laws will come into effect from October 17, 2018. Originally, it was hoped that the new law would be introduced by July, however, there were a number of setbacks. Also, the new cannabis laws do not currently cover edibles.
What other societal issues would benefit from new legislation?
Senior citizen representation
As part of a pledge to do more for senior citizens, it was proposed that the Ministry of Seniors and Accessibility be created. According to the Liberals, the ministry’s mandate would be to “protect and vigorously promote the needs and interests" of seniors. At present, the responsibility of looking after senior citizens is split among several government departments. Creating a dedicated ministry would assure all seniors that they are important and valued.
Like many other western countries, Canada has an ageing population and decreased birth rate. By 2030, it is estimated by the Liberal Party that 24 percent of the population will be seniors. Currently, this figure is around 16 percent, which means the government has time to act. Without proper measures and plans in place, Canadian senior citizens are likely to suffer.
Online gaming legislation
Despite being a billion-dollar industry, there is no centralized legislation for online gaming in Canada. Instead, individual provinces have the power to create and monitor their own legislation. However, this hasn’t worked out so well in the past. Take, for example, the province of Quebec where there is an ongoing legal battle surrounding Loto-Quebec wanting to create a government-owned monopoly. This means that online gaming sites that are not run by the province would be blocked from the market. So far, the Supreme Court has ruled against the government of Quebec. Despite the legal defeat, the Attorney General of Quebec lodged an appeal with the Department of Justice.
Centralized legislation could be the answer to many of these issues. Both gaming sites and Canadians would possibly even benefit from positive legislation. Instead, of existing in a "legally grey" area, it should be properly governed.
Minimum wage guarantee
Guaranteeing a national minimum wage would help individuals and families on low incomes. In terms of real numbers, around 7.5 million Canadians would be better off. This would have several benefits for Canadians and the government, including putting an end to the discrepancies between provinces. For example, in the Northwest territories minimum wage is set at $13.46, whereas, in Saskatchewan, it's $10.96. A guranteed minimum wage would also help ease the building strain on social and health.