The word “chai” translated from Hebrew to English means “life.” In Judaism, the number 18 is universally synonymous with “life” or “chai.” For Jews the world over, the number 18 has long enjoyed a special status as Jews have the custom to donate money in multiples of “chai,” as a good omen for life. The auspicious number 18 appears in various places throughout Canada’s new cannabis policy. Cannabis is a plant, whose life has brought new meaning and relief to people for thousands of years. Let’s delve deeper …
On July 1, 2018, cannabis will be legal in Canada. Fulfilling a campaign pledge, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau presented legislation to legalize the recreational use of marijuana in Canada for those over the age of 18. Canada will become only the second nation, after Uruguay, to completely legalize marijuana as a consumer product. Meanwhile, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions called marijuana “only slightly less awful” than heroin. Another important contrast: Trudeau admitted he got high while serving in Parliament. President Donald Trump is the first president in about 25 years who claims he never smoked pot.
According to reports, the Canadian government would create a system to regulate marijuana production, distribution, and sale. If it’s commercialized properly, it will help eliminate or reduce the black market. A legal, well-regulated cannabis market will put cartels out of business. It would also collect licensing fees and taxes on marijuana sales as well as take profits away from criminals and organized crime. “Criminals pocket between $7 and $8 billion in illicit proceeds. We simply have to do better,” said Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness in Canada.
Canada, like the U.S. if it were astute enough to recognize it, has good reason to want marijuana legalized. There were more than 640,000 prescriptions for OxyContin in Canada in 2003, a five-fold increase in just three years. In Newfoundland, prescriptions rose 400 per cent during that time. Canada’s chief coroners were raising alarms over the number of deadly overdoses. There is an opioid epidemic – in case you haven’t heard – and Canada wants to do something to combat it, and that includes legalizing cannabis.
“People from minority communities, marginalized communities, without economic resources, are not going to have that kind of option to go through and clear their name in the justice system,” Trudeau said. Trudeau has suggested his government will address the issue of making a blanket pardon for those with previous cannabis charges when the legislation is approved.
Trudeau’s comments come on the heels of his government’s recent legislation application to fully legalize marijuana by mid-2018, which would reportedly make Canada the first country in the G7 to do so. “Our focus is on making sure we’re changing the legislation to fix what’s broken about a system that is hurting Canadians,” he said. Trudeau, named to Vogue’s “Sexiest Men Alive” list is also pretty smart, and that counts for a lot going forward in the fight against the War on Drugs.