Canada legalizes marijuana: Is the U.S. next?

By Max Slomiak

On Oct. 17, Canada passed a law to make legal all uses — including medicinal and recreational uses — of marijuana.

Dylan Chand is a Quinnipiac University senior from Coquitlam, British Columbia.

“I think legalization for marijuana is something that has been long overdue,” he said. “For Canada I think it’s great for the economy because we’re known as a cannabis country already, so it makes the sale of marijuana seem much more legitimate and can reduce the stigma of marijuana as a drug.”

Over the past five years, marijuana legislation has started to become more common in states around the U.S.

According to the National Conference of State Legislators, as of Oct. 25, marijuana is legal for both medicinal and recreational use in nine states and there are 30 states in which it is only legal to use for medicinal purposes.

Will the U.S finally make marijuana legal in all 50 states?

Quinnipiac professor Jonathan Pelto, who studies government affairs and policy said, “As more and more states look to Canada and their experience and particularly the revenue that they will make from this policy, these states are going to say, ‘Look, if Canada and Colorado can do it so can we.’”

Canada’s policy may also make marijuana laws more strict at the federal level with the current administration's stance against the legalization of marijuana.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if the Trump administration tries to ramp up stronger enforcement of marijuana laws to get back at Canada,” Pelto said.

Marijuana is already being discussed at the federal level as Senator Cory Booker from New Jersey proposed a bill to remove marijuana from the schedule 1 classification. This classification means that it is the worst kind of drug in the federal government's eyes.

In the upcoming midterm elections, both Michigan and North Dakota will vote on the legalization of recreational marijuana.

“I think it will pass in Connecticut this year or next year. As Massachusetts gets on board, it’s just that you’re losing so much revenue,” Pelto said.

Some students are in favor of legalizing marijuana throughout the U.S.

Quinnipiac junior, Stephen Cangelosi, said, “Marijuana should be legal because it’s not that bad of a drug. It’s safer than alcohol and if it was controlled on the market you wouldn’t have to worry about it being laced with any other drugs, such as angel dust.”

Some students think that eventually the entire country will legalize marijuana.

“I think that in the next five years all states will legalize marijuana … because it makes so much money for the states and if it’s regulated by the federal government “ said Khrys De Jesus, a sophomore.

Some college students think — legal or not — marijuana will stay the same on college campuses.

De Jesus said, “I think more people would be open to doing it, but overall the amount of people who use it would stay the same.”

Hamden, QuinnipiacMax Slomiak