As of November, any Canadian caught with as few as six cannabis plants faces a mandatory six-month minimum prison term. Ironically, the new rules came into effect at the same time that Washington state and Colorado voted to tax and regulate the recreational use of marijuana by adults.
The results of the legalization measures in those states came as a surprise to many Canadians, including, presumably, Prime Minister Stephen Harper. When asked about the four former Vancouver mayors who publicly support the regulation and taxation of marijuana in Canada, he argued “it would inhibit our trade generally because they’re certainly not going to make that move in the United States.”
That may have been true in the past, but Canada has fallen way behind the U.S. when it comes to progressive drug policy. In addition to the two states that legalized the adult use of marijuana, three more legalized it for medical uses. A total of 18 states now allow medical marijuana, and 12 have decriminalized possession of the drug. Meanwhile, Canadian policy is moving in the opposite direction.
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