The Canadian government is set to legalize, regulate and restrict access to cannabis on October 17, a move that will see the substance readily available to the public.
While legalization is a federal decision, the provinces and municipalities also have areas of responsibility.
Cannabis is currently an illegal substance (with the exception of authorized medical use) under the federal Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.
The legislation will set the age limit for purchase and use of cannabis at 18, allowing adults to possess up to 30 grams with each household being allowed to grow up to four cannabis plants.
Under the legislation, a regulatory regime will license production of cannabis that would be controlled by the federal government, and the distribution and sale of cannabis that would be under provincial government control.
It will also establish new provisions to address drug-impaired driving, as well as making several changes to the overall legal framework to address alcohol impaired driving.
However, the legalization of cannabis brings back to table health concerns debate with an anticipated spike in patients diagnosed with mental illness.
The Canadian Medical Association is urging the government to closely monitor issues in Canadian hospitals.
“We know with legalization, it normalizes use,” CMA president Dr.Gigi Oster said. “We are entering this new reality.
Canada and Uruguay are the only countries that will now have fully legalized the consumption and sale of recreational cannabis nationwide.
In the United States , nine states have legalized sales and consumption of cannabis with Colorado and Washington states being the first states to legalise back in 2014. But it still remains federally illegal.
Court rulings in Georgia and South Africa have led to the legalization of personal cultivation and consumption of cannabis, but not legal sales.
A policy of limited enforcement has also been adopted in many countries in particular Spain and the Netherlands where the sale of cannabis is tolerated at licensed establishments.