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Cannabis in Canada: how did we get here?

Last Updated Oct 17, 2018 at 12:13 am EDT

FILE - Canadian cannabis producers say they are ramping up their operations to keep up with growing demand for medical marijuana and in anticipation of legislation that would allow for recreational use of the drug. Cannabis plants intended for the medical marijuana market grow at OrganiGram in Moncton, N.B., in an April 14, 2016, file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ron Ward, File

Almost three years since the Trudeau Liberals were elected – cannabis products are now legal in Canada.

It was one of the biggest campaign promises for the party in 2015. Trudeau said it would fix a “failed system” and help “remove the criminal element” linked to the drug.

The government has argued that marijuana prohibition is very expensive and that legalization could significantly cut down on costs.

READ MORE: As Canada makes marijuana legal, the U.S. resorts to Prohibition-inspired tactics

The Cannabis Act was passed by the House of Commons in late 2017 and on Tuesday, June 19, 2018 the Senate approved Bill C-45, establishing the new legal regime, after seven months of intensive study and debate.

It received royal assent two days later.

There were reports that it would legal on Canada Day, but the date was moved back until the fall.

READ MORE: Canada Day 2018 shouldn’t be about legalizing marijuana: Bill Blair

Later than expected, the government announced Oct. 17 as the day Canadians could recreationally consume cannabis products.

It ended the almost century-old prohibition on marijuana in this country but it hasn’t come without opponents and challenges along the way.

WATCH: The long road to legalization — a look back at marijuana in Canada

WATCH MORE: Strict laws coming down Wednesday that will tell you where you are able to light up, and it will all depend on where you live in Canada.



People in this country – as long as they’re of age – can:

  • Purchase fresh cannabis, dried cannabis, cannabis oil, seeds or plants from authorized dealers
  • Consume products where approved by local jurisdictions
  • Possess up to 30 grams of dried legal cannabis with other adults
  • Grow up to four plants per household for personal use
  • Make food or drinks at home containing cannabis

Each province has its own rules and regulations about how it will be distributed, enforced and how much you can possess.

In terms of how it can affect you – each person is different.

READ MORE: Is cannabis addictive? Is it a gateway drug? 

The Government of Canada hopes people understand the impacts, risks and benefits before consuming.