Module Progress:

1801 – 1822

Hemp was being produced in Canada and the Upper Canada parliament set money aside to try and incentivize the growth and production of the plant. Hemp seeds were handed out to farmers in hopes of getting them to grow the plant to manufacture clothing and rigging for ships.

1860

The United States of America releases a medical report stating the medicinal uses of cannabis with doctors finding it useful in the treatment of migraine attacks, epilepsy and depression.

1911

Canada passes the Opium and Narcotic Drug Act which restricted the use of such drugs as cocaine, opium and morphine, but the list does not include cannabis.

1923

Canada adds cannabis to the Confidential Restricted List with the introduction of the Act to Prohibit Improper Use of Opium and other Drugs, which consolidated the previous legislation with three new drugs, which included the addition of cannabis, heroin and codeine.

1937

First seizure of cannabis by police in Canada. The maximum penalty for possession of small quantities was six months in prison and a $1,000 fine for a first offence.

1960s

Cannabis gains popularity for recreational use, initially among college-students and within the beatnik culture, and later expanding to other populations. Convictions for cannabis skyrocket, from 25 convictions between 1930 and 1946, to 20 cases in 1962, to 2,300 cases in 1968, to 12,000 in 1972. The Narcotics Control Act of 1961 increases maximum penalties to 14 years to life imprisonment.

1997

Terrence Parker becomes the first Canadian able to cultivate and possess cannabis, which he uses to control his epilepsy seizures after courts decide that his persecution for possession is a violation of his right to life, liberty and the security of his person. This ruling, which is held up by an Ontario court of appeal in 2000, ultimately leads to the creation of Canada’s medicinal marijuana system.

2003

First measure to decriminalize cannabis across Canada which would reduce the penalties for possession of up to 15 grams to a civil fine. The bill does not pass due to pressure from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. In 2004 this same process occurs.

2014

The MMAR (Marijuana Medical Access Regulations) is replaced by the Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations (MMPR), meaning that a government license is no longer a requirement, a physician is now able to simply prescribe the drug.

2015

Justin Trudeau runs for, and achieves, Prime Minister with a major point of his platform being the need to legalize cannabis within Canada. In 2016 a national poll conducted by Nanos Research finds that 7 out of 10 Canadians are in favour of the legalization of cannabis.

2017

On April 13 of 2017 a bill to legalize cannabis by July of 2018, Bill C-45, is introduced to parliament. It proposes that individuals aged 18 and older should be able to possess up to 30 grams.

2018

After numerous additions and amendments Bill C-45 is passed on to the committee stage March 22. On June 19th the Cannabis Act is passed by a vote of 52 to 29 with two abstentions. Legalization is to be enacted on Oct. 17, 2018. This makes Canada the second country to legalise cannabis, Uruguay being the first in 2013.