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A Look at How Canada’s Marijuana Legalization Plan Compares to Legalization in the U.S. and Uruguay

Today the Canadian government released their plan to legalize marijuana by July, 2018. How does this plan compare to Uruguay and the states in the U.S. that have already legalized?

In the U.S., eight states have legalized marijuana for recreational purposes. Uruguay, which legalized cannabis in 2013, remains the only country to legalize the plant federally. Canada’s government seeks to change this, however, with their newly-released plan to legalize by next year.

Below is a look at the differences and similarities between the laws in Uruguay and the U.S., and the law being proposed in Canada:

Possession Limits:

U.S.:

Seven of the eight states with legal cannabis allow up to an ounce (28 grams), with Maine allowing up to 2.5 ounces.

Canada:

The plan put forth by Canada’s Liberal Party would allow for possession of up to 30 grams.

Uruguay:

Uruguay allows possession of up to 40 grams within a one-month period.

 

Cultivation Limits

U.S.:

Seven of the eight legal cannabis states allow personal cultivation in a private residence, with the limit ranging from four to six plants. Washington is the only state that allows absolutely no home growing.

Canada:

Canada’s plan would allow for up to four plants to be cultivated, with localities allowed to set their own limits.

Uruguay:

Uruguay’s law allows cultivation of up to six plants, with an allowed yield of up to 480 grams annually.

 

Marijuana Stores

U.S.:

All eight marijuana states have established a licensed system of regulated cannabis retail outlets. Although the regulations vary slightly from state-to-state, marijuana stores is a commonality among all of them.

Canada:

Licensed and regulated marijuana retail outlets would also be allowed under Canada’s plan. Much of the exact regulations have yet to be determined, but what is known is that Canadian adults will be able to buy cannabis from a retail outlet once the system is up and running.

Uruguay:

Uruguay allows marijuana to be sold through pharmacies; such sales are expected to begin this July, exactly a year before sales in Canada are expected to start.

 

Age Limit:

U.S.:

All eight legal marijuana states have the age limit set at 21.

Canada:

Canada’s plan would legalize marijuana for those 18 and older.

Uruguay:

Uruguay allows recreational marijuana for those 18 and older.

 

Driving Laws

U.S.:

Seven of the eight states with legal cannabis have proven impairment as a necessity for issuing a DUID (driving under the influence of drugs) for marijuana. However, Washington has a 5 ng/ml THC limit, meaning those with at least 5 nanograms of THC per milliliter of blood are guilty of a DUID regardless of impairment or how long ago the person last consumed cannabis.

Canada:

Unfortunately Canada’s plan falls in line with Washington, with a 5 ng/ml THC limit set for serious driving offenses. Those with less than 5 ng/ml, but more than 2 ng/ml, would still face a fine.

Uruguay:

Uruguay’s law requires proof of impairment.

About Anthony Martinelli

Anthony, co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of TheJointBlog, has worked closely with numerous elected officials who support cannabis law reform, including as the former Campaign Manager for Washington State Representative Dave Upthegrove. He has also been published by multiple media outlets, including the Seattle Times. He can be reached at TheJointBlog@TheJointBlog.com.

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