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A Brief History of Canadian Cannabis

In Canada, it has been nearly 100 years since Cannabis was last legal to possess and consume. In 1923, it was added to the Confidential Restricted List under the Narcotics Drug Act Amendment Bill. This Bill is now widely viewed as racist, in part as it focused on opium use by Chinese (and is related to the Chinese Exclusion Act also in 1923) and other drugs in the "bringing about the downfall of the white race".

Interestingly, the "moral reformers" who pushed for the laws were most active in Vancouver, BC. Vancouver has also seen some of the most vocal and active supporters of cannabis legalization (also home to GGK!).

Recreational cannabis use in Canada didn't gain wider popularity until the 1960s, along with other free-spirited activities. In 1972, the Canadian Royal Commission of Inquiry in the Non-Medical Use of Drugs recommended cannabis possession to be decriminalized, however, the government did not enact the changes. In 2003 and 2004, there was decriminalization bills put forward but were defeated through US DEA pressure and government change from Liberals to Conservatives, respectively. In 2009, the Conservatives introduced a bill to increase cannabis penalties but the bill was defeated.

In 2001, medical use of dried flower cannabis was legalized in Canada. With doctor prescription and purchasing from approved growers. In 2014, the program was more formalized including a public register of approved producers. In 2015, the form of medical cannabis was expanded to include edibles, teas and oils.

June 2017 brought forth the Canada Cannabis Act for legal recreational dried flower and oils use which took effect October 17, 2017. No date set for when edibles, topicals and concentrates will be legalized.

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