Canada becomes the second state in the world to allow recreational marijuana.
After almost a century of prohibition, Canada became Wednesday, October 17 the first G20 country to legalize recreational cannabis. A historic reform expected across the country, both by the consumers of this soft drug and by the stock markets, euphoric.
From midnight local (4:30 in metropolitan France) in Saint-Jean-de-Terre-Neuve, in the east of the country, dozens of people who braved the cold for several hours bought the first grams of cannabis “legal” in a Tweed store, briefly open at midnight to mark the occasion. Among them, Ian Power, arrived from 20 hours to “go down in history”. He tells the journalists:
“It was my dream to become the first person to buy the first legal cannabis gram, and here I am, I’m on a little cloud, so excited, I do not stop smiling. not cold, it’s freezing outside, but I’m not cold. ”
Three years after his election victory, the Liberal government of Justin Trudeau has achieved one of its most symbolic campaign commitments: Canada is only the second state in the world to allow recreational marijuana, after Uruguay 2013.
The implementation of this measure will therefore be scrutinized and dissected by Canadians, called to the polls in a year for uncertain legislation, as well as by the allied countries of Ottawa, some of whom have already authorized therapeutic cannabis.
The government wanted to allow each province to organize the grass trade. From Montreal to Vancouver via Toronto and Winnipeg, each region has used its own recipe to organize this lucrative market valued at approximately C $ 6 billion (4 billion euros) per year.
In Quebec, the Quebec SQDC’s state-owned stores will open at 10:00 am (French time). The SQDC starts with 12 stores but targets up to 150 within three years. Conversely, Manitoba and Alberta have decided to liberalize this industry and a handful of private outlets will be inaugurated on Wednesday.
Dozens of parties were held Wednesday to celebrate the legalization, especially in Toronto and Montreal. It is also celebrated on the Toronto Stock Exchange, where billions of dollars have been invested in this new industry over the last few months. The market leader, Canopy Growth, for example, gained 448% in one year and was worth Tuesday evening $ 13.88 billion.
Eradicate the black market
The Conservative opposition in the Ottawa Parliament has increased attacks in recent days against this measure, which, according to Justin Trudeau’s opponents, but also according to doctors, has been rushed and has hidden many dangers to public health and safety.
“It has been at least two years that we work with the various [local] governments,” said Justin Trudeau on Tuesday, repeating that the legalization must allow to restrict the access of this soft drug to minors and “to remove the money from pockets of criminal organizations “.
For Bill Blair, Minister responsible for the Reduction of Organized Crime, it is conceivable to delight 25% of the black market by the end of 2018 and about half within a year. “Many people think legalization is an event, but it’s a process,” he told AFP. He pursues :
“For almost a century, criminal groups have been fully in control of the market, 100% of its production and distribution, and they have earned billions of dollars every year, and they will not disappear quietly overnight. . ”
According to the Department of Justice, eradicating the black market will take at least four years.