Canada has become the first G7 country to legalize cannabis, and the world is watching. The primary concern facing the Liberal government as it seeks to fulfill its 2015 campaign promise to “legalize, regulate, and restrict access to marijuana? is whether it can be done without making the situation worse. As the Liberal platform pointed out, the current regime lets illegal cannabis fall into the hands of minors, pours large profits into organized crime, and traps many people in the criminal justice system for what is arguably a victimless crime. While the legalization of marijuana in Canada begins with a straightforward change of the criminal code, its ramifications go far beyond this. Legalization will have a serious impact on the country's international treaty commitments, interprovincial relations, taxation and regulatory regimes, and social and health policies. The essays in this book address these outcomes from three main perspectives: the decades-long political path to legalization; the assumptions that underwrite the new policy, in particular the desire to stamp out the black market; and how legalization in Canada looks in an international context. Bringing together analysis by policy makers and scholars, including the architect of marijuana legislation in Portugal — a trailblazing jurisdiction — High Time provides an urgent and necessary overview of Canada's Cannabis Act.
Andrew Potter is assistant professor at the McGill Institute for the Study of Canada. Daniel Weinstock is professor in the McGill Faculty of Law, and from 2013 to 2018, he was the director of McGill's Institute for Health and Social Policy.