Decriminalization of Marijuana in Canada

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In recent years, there has been a strong push towards decriminalizing marijuana in Canada. Decriminalization refers to the act of removing criminal sanctions, such that possession of marijuana as well as consumption of it would not result in a criminal prosecution. Currently, under Canada’s Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, possession of marijuana (up to 30 grams) carries a penalty of 6 months in jail as well as a $1000 fine for first offences with the penalty increasing for subsequent offences. (canadian criminal code) Advocates of marijuana decriminalization argue however that this puts a huge burden towards the legal system. More specifically, expenditures are being wasted towards the enforcement of the controlled drugs and substances act, which can be reallocated and distributed elsewhere. Additionally, since possession of marijuana involves criminal prosecution, law-abiding Canadian citizens who have no prior record but have been prosecuted for simple possession would have a difficult time applying jobs among many other problems, which can impact society as a whole. This paper will look into these arguments in detail and conclude that while decriminalization can lead to some economic benefits, the economic costs have been understated. By decriminalizing the drug, the public will be encouraged to use it leading to increase in both supply as well as demand, with none of the profits going to the government.
Liberal party leader Justin Trudeau made headlines this year when he criticized the current stance on marijuana prohibition and called for an end to it. Mr. Trudeau publicly commented that he’s in favour of legalizing marijuana and wants the government to “tax it, and regulate it [in order to] keep it out of the hands of...

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...fects to one’s health or society as a whole. According to the simple model of supply and demand, decriminalization will lead to increase in consumption as well an increase in the supply. And since decriminalization does not lead to a market regulated by the government, the black market will continue to profit with none of the benefits going back to the government. Furthermore, by decriminalizing marijuana, the government is sending the wrong message to society. For example, people who were hesitant to try it due to the legal risks involved would be curious enough to try it as the legal risks have reduced to 0. And because the chemicals involved in marijuana are addictive, there is no given that the user would stop consuming it right away. Instead of decriminalization, the government should focus more on preventative measures rather than encouraging its consumption.

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