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Legalization of Marijuana in Canada


In 2018, Canada became “the first industrialized nation to legalize marijuana,” which resulted in both positive and negative consequences (Austen, 2021, para. 10). Despite the fact that some people believe that the legalization of cannabis is a mistake, practice shows that this step allows to improve the economy of Canada, control the sales, and address the criminal justice system inequalities.

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Positive consequences

Over the past few years since the legalization of marijuana, it has become evident that Canada’s economy has grown stronger due to the increased profit and reduced expenses. First of all, researchers notice that taxing the sale of cannabis boosts the national economy because businesses that were illegal now have to pay money, and there is a 10% tax imposed on marijuana sales (Tia, 2021). Further, many more small businesses gain an opportunity to become legal and increase their annual profit, which also has a positive effect on the national economy (Austen, 2021). Foreigners find Canada to be a good travel destination, and marijuana legalization is another reason for them to come to this country more often and prefer it over others (Tia, 2021). Finally, the country can save money for other purposes by investing less into anti-drug law enforcement because the legalization has resulted in a reduced number of drug-related crimes (Tia, 2021).

By legalizing the recreational use of marijuana, the Canadian government gains control over its sales and achieves a number of benefits for society. First of all, cannabis sales are shifted out of the black market, which reduces the level of organized crime and makes the streets safer for citizens (Austen, 2021). Second, the government makes sure that marijuana consumed by Canadians is “not adulterated with other drugs or toxins” (Austen, 2021, para. 48). Most importantly, sales to minors are eliminated, which is essential in order to make sure they are safe and healthy (Tia, 2021).

Finally, another significant advantage is that marijuana legalization allows to eliminate inequalities in the Canadian justice system and provide people who were convicted of use or possession before 2018 with a chance for a new life. According to Austen (2021), before cannabis became legal, marginalized communities, including Indigenous persons and Black Canadians, faced a disproportional number of marijuana prosecutions and penalties. For example, “while Black people made up 8.8 percent of the population of Toronto, they faced 34 percent of marijuana possession charges there between 2013 and 2017” (Austen, 2021, para. 19). Therefore, the Canadian government’s decision resulted in the elimination of racialized and discriminating arrests for possession of cannabis. Additionally, special programs for pardons are created to make sure that some people can get a new chance and start a new life without others judging them (Austen, 2021).

Negative consequences

Despite the benefits mentioned above, some Canadians are still worried about the legalization being a threat that undermines their nation’s and individual safety, wellness, and health and provides criminals with more power. According to researchers, 42% of Canadians are concerned with their home values being negatively impacted by a cannabis retailer (van Esch et al., 2020). As practice shows, marijuana decriminalization increases the number of children and teenagers consuming it illegally (Anguelov, 2020), and Canadians consider it a threat. Consequently, juvenile arrests and crime rates are growing, while the attempts to eliminate the illicit market fail (Bogart, 2020), which makes people become concerned and doubt the effectiveness of the Canadian government’s decision.


To draw a conclusion, though the Canadian government has much to improve, it is possible to say that marijuana legalization has proved to be an efficient step that has already introduced many advantages and will continue affecting the country in a positive way.


Anguelov, N. (2020). The unintended consequences of marijuana decriminalization. The Conversation. Web.

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Austen, I. (2021). 2 years after legalizing cannabis, has Canada kept its promises? The New York Times. Web.

Bogart, B. (2020). The verdict: Canada’s legalization of cannabis is a success. The Conversation. Web.

Tia, M. (2021). Marijuana and its economic value in Canada. Ottawa Life Magazine. Web.

van Esch, P., O’Shea, M., & Duffy, S. (2020). Undecided on the cannabis referendum: 10 pros and cons of legalising the drug. The Conversation. Web.

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