When was alcohol legalized in Canada

Cannabis legalizationCanada, a country on drugs

A country on drugs - completely legal, since last October. The Canadian national flag is already available in a modified version: instead of maple, now with hemp leaf.

"There are many options, we have around 85 different cannabis varieties on offer. Everything is included: More than 20 percent THC content or even lower doses. In addition, greenhouse or outdoor cultivation. Some things help with sleep or pain, others will stimulate you The question is, what exactly are you looking for?

Canada was the first member of the elite club of the G7 industrialized countries to take the step and completely free cannabis for adults. The vast country had already approved the drug for medical purposes in 2001. So now to "relaxation", the official choice of words: "Recreational marihuana". One, three and a half or seven grams are the standard quantities, explains seller Jordan.

In Canada, minors are still prohibited from consuming cannabis (picture alliance / dpa / photo: Chris Young)
On the store's electronic display board, the varieties Black Mamba, Blueberry Diesel and White Dragon of the Indian hemp Cannabis Indica are listed. Cannabis Sativa includes Hurricane or the ghost breath. Seven grams for 60 Canadian dollars. The humming refrigerated counter next to it is filled with biscuits, gummy bears and lollipops. Everything also mixed with cannabis.

"I like the 'Space Bar' best! A combination of butterscotch, peanut butter and marshmallow. Add 100 milligrams - a medium dose," says Jordan.

Legalization full of absurdities

Jordan is at the sales counter. His mother stirs and bakes in one of the back rooms. She is currently heating up sugar syrup for sweets and lollipops.

Yes: cannabis is legal in Canada. But everything that grows, baked and sold here is completely illegal. The Legacy 420 store - the number is a code word for cannabis - has been around since 2015, long before cannabis legalization. Foods mixed with cannabis are still banned in Canada anyway. The release is not planned until next October. Legacy 420 is not licensed to manufacture or sell. The police could close the shop at any time. Might, but not. Because cannabis legalization in Canada is full of oddities. One of them is the strong will of many indigenous people to enforce their rights on their land. Like in the Iroquois reservation two and a half hours by car southwest of Canada's capital Ottawa, not far from Lake Ontario.

Cannabis shop in the reserve

Tim Barnhart owns the shop, the cannabis bakery and a large laboratory for quality control and measuring the THC content of the products. The substance tetrahydrocannabinol is attributed to the intoxicating effect of the drug.

The sale of cannabis-containing foods is still banned in Canada and should only be allowed under strict conditions (AP / The Canadian Press / Paul Daly)
"We have the right to govern ourselves. We still have this right through our treaty with the British crown. It determines the rights of the crown and those of our people. There is also the agreement of the wampum belt - two rows of pearls on it They say: Europeans travel in their boat, we in ours. And in different directions. We are a nation of our own. "

A nation that doesn't pay taxes, that has its own laws, that hasn't waited for cannabis clearance from Ottawa. Tim Barnhart is unquestionably the top dog among neighboring shops like Peacemaker 420.

"The business has grown by 1,000 percent in the past few years. I started on my own, now I have 38 employees. About $ 1.7 million will flow back to our First Nation. A considerable amount!"

Customers like Josh and Brendan, 28, come here from neighboring towns like Kingston. There is no legal, state-run business there. However, Brendan could also order his goods online. But that is too anonymous for him:

"At first people were afraid that the police would catch them when they left the store. But they don't put much pressure on them. They don't control cars, they don't chase anyone. In the end, the price will be decisive. People get cannabis on the reservation just cheaper than the new store in Ottawa. "

The legalization of cannabis has created thousands of new jobs in Canada. Producers hope for big business. (imago stock & people / ZUMA Press)

Kanda's Cannabis Minister

Canada's capital, Ottawa, Confederation Building, just a few steps from Parliament, which is trying hard to imitate Big Ben. William Blair welcomes you to his spacious office on the ground floor. He is not only Minister for Border Protection and the Fight Against Organized Crime. Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also made him cannabis minister: taxation, control of growers, drug-behind-the-wheel, child protection - all of this is Blair's portfolio.

A huge change of roles. Because Blair used to fight cannabis as the chief of police in the city of Toronto, now he controls the business with it:

"100 percent of the cannabis market was in the hands of organized crime. Without any rules. The black market has no interest in the health of our children or the safety of our communities. Replacing it is an important goal of our policy. Since it was legalized six months ago a third of all adult purchases now take place legally. "

According to government regulations, cannabis remains taboo for minors. Studies warn of damage to the developing brain. However, nearly a third of teenagers in Canada say they have smoked marijuana in the past three months. The declared goal of the government is to damage the black market in such a way that children ultimately hardly find drug dealers, explains Minister Blair:

"We also still have all options from investigation to law enforcement to deal with the criminals who put our children at risk. Nothing about these laws has changed."

Cannabis sharing doesn't just have fans

Pamela McColl is perhaps the harshest critic of cannabis clearance in a country that otherwise seems to be fairly calm about it. Canada and the drug - that had been announced for so long, an election promise by Justin Trudeau. Then the start was also delayed. When the time finally came on October 17th, the fighting between opponents and supporters seemed already over.

"There are just too many lobbyists in the marijuana industry. The American lobby is now deeply rooted here in Canada. The government has held court to all those involved in the marijuana industry. Their main concern is money, jobs , about taxes. And very little about health education. "

The government says the business that the black market has done so far is worth eight billion Canadian dollars. Pamela McColl speaks for several groups opposed to legalization. Given the choice between a ban or the now practiced limitation of damage by means of a controlled market, it is clearly in favor of a return to prohibition.

Cannabis as a new job guarantee

The 9,000-inhabitant town of Smiths Falls: Here, ventilation and heating systems boom for Canada's legal marijuana. Canopy Growth is Canada's largest producer, just under an hour's drive from the capital, Ottawa. Laboratory coats, overcoats for shoes, doors with chip card readers. Canopy Growth spreads a technically sterile atmosphere with strict controls. Smiths Falls doesn't have the big hemp greenhouses either. They are mainly found on the Pacific coast in British Columbia.

Here, however, the so-called mother plants grow, which are used for mass reproduction and are intended to ensure varietal purity. Here are the laboratories for checking the products and developing new ones. And here is the lounge-style visitor center for subsidiary Tweed, in whose name the "weed" is already incorporated with a wink.

The manager magazine snappy calls the founder and managing director a drug lord. Bruce Linton just laughs. The main thing is that they won't forget his or even the company name. Bruce Linton is living marketing - and seems to be barely able to contain his energy and his overflowing ideas.

The first thing he asks is whether coal mining is about to end in Germany. Because he wants to produce wherever there are no more jobs. In Smiths Falls, the coal industry didn't die, but the chocolate maker Hershey's gone. More than 500 jobs were lost at that time. The little town skidded. Today it is known as the "Pot Capital of Canada", the pot capital of Canada.

From here, Canopy Growth aims to become nothing less than a Google of the cannabis market. The company is already the largest legal manufacturer in the world. The number of employees rose from 700 to 2,700 within one year. For the first quarter since legalization, Linton has seen sales skyrocket nearly 300 percent:

"The world is waking up. Cannabis is nothing new. Governments have a choice: they can ignore it, then criminals take care of it. Or they regulate it, make money from it and educate society."

Risks? Yes, there are, says Linton. But then he immediately points his finger at the illegal traders with dubious goods of unclear origin and composition and possibly with contamination. He prefers to talk about the benefits of the plant. And the market opportunities.

Cannabis 2.0: producers smell big business

At the same time, Canopy Growth is preparing for Cannabis 2.0: The Canadian cannabis approval also for food and beverages. That should follow in October this year.

"Across the street is quite a large building. We'll be making cannabis-infused beverages there. Of course, that product isn't on the illegal market either. We're creating a global company here. A company just got us $ 4 billion for us." 17 percent given to our company. "

This is reminiscent of the hype surrounding tech companies. But where expectations explode, the financial bubble may not be far away either. Swinging between 25 and 55 Canadian dollars, Canopy Growth stock has seen a lot of ups and downs. The company is still in the red. But only because of the aggressive expansion course, so CEO Linton sees it.

Cannabis 2.0 - a new market from gummy bears to pastries to beer. Federal Minister Blair is asked again in the capital Ottawa:

"We know that there are significant additional health and social risks for foods, extracts and topical products. So we've taken another year. We want the right upper limits. So that Canadian adults know exactly what strength they are." Products have and what they can trigger. "

The health authority Health Canada wants to allow a maximum of ten milligrams of the psychoactive substance THC per food or beverage package. As a reminder: The so-called "Space Bar" in the store on the reserve area has ten times as much to offer.

In addition to lower prices, the competition for the effectiveness of the goods is already emerging as the next challenge in the attempt to eliminate the cannabis black market.

At the end of March they were still busy building. The "Superette" opened in Ottawa at the beginning of April. One of the first legal cannabis stores in Ontario, Canada's most populous province. It took the region almost half a year to offer customers more than just an online offer. The white-tiled shop looks like a mixture of a butcher's and a designer shop. There are only moderate queues at the opening. And calm residents like Lee-Anne, who is most likely to worry about traffic jams and parking spaces.

In Canada, cannabis consumption has been allowed not only for medical reasons, but also for "recreation" since October 17, 2018 (picture alliance / dpa / PA Wire)

Cannabis, beer and liquor

About 3,000 kilometers from Canada's capital and the Superette store is Yellowknife, the capital of Canada's Northwest Territories. With a population of 20,000, not far from the Arctic Circle, the huge Great Slave Lake was frozen over so massively in March that an ice road runs across the bay into neighboring Dettah.

While Ontario didn't have a single store until April and is now relying on private investors, the Northwest Territories are taking a different route. They sell cannabis through the already state-regulated alcohol shops. Between shelves with wine, beer and schnapps is a small counter: six almost identical cannabis cartons under glass. With yellow highlighted warnings and the legally required stop sign with the hemp leaf in it.

The business has picked up speed, says owner Edward Eggenberger. However, he does not see any great opportunities against the cheaper black market. The first day of sales, on the other hand, was an event, a spectacle in the small town. A country on drugs, recalls Eggenberger:

"The whole shop was jam-packed. We had to lock the doors so that we didn't all come in at the same time and we could first serve the customers inside. Some came here on October 17th and bought something. I am convinced that it is still in my home them around. "

At eight o'clock in the evening it was said: Sold out. As in many places in Canada. Edward Eggenberger no longer has this problem today. The supplies flow. And a customer thinks that is just "cool". No more playing hide and seek is necessary. His plan: watch the northern lights and smoke a joint.