History of cannabis in Canada: A timeline of the legalization movement

history of cannabis in canada

Canada is one of the few countries in the world with legal cannabis, an expertly organized medical program, and a promising recreational market that is soon to be initiated. But what was the journey like?

It’s safe to say that cannabis made a full circle in Canada in less than a 100 years.

It was outlawed after the Director of the Federal Division of Narcotic Control returned from League of Nations meetings where the international control of the drug was discussed.

At that time the League of Nations was the predecessor of the United Nations organization.

Industrial hemp was also thrown aside as it was seen to be equally as bad as cannabis itself.

Nearly 15 years after it was outlawed, the first seizures of cannabis started happening in Canada.

Just like in the United States, the popularity of cannabis started growing in the ’70s and ’80s with the help of the hippy movement.

Cannabis use in Canada increased significantly during the ’90s, which also coincides with the second wave of cocaine popularity and the introduction of amphetamines such as speed, MDMA,  and similar uppers.

The biggest increase in cannabis consumption happened in Ontario between 1996 and 2000, as statistics indicate that use among 18-29 year olds increased from 18% to 28%.

After a couple major court victories the federal government worked with the people of Canada on establishing the universal medical marijuana system which after a lot of reform turned into the ACMPR.

Another 15 years later and the PM of Canada, Justin Trudeau, announced that Canada will have legal cannabis for personal use by the end of his term no matter what.

History of cannabis in Canada visualized

Some of us just aren’t that good with remembering years and numbers, which is why today we’ve got something special just for you.

You can familiarize yourself with the good and bad days of cannabis in Canada on the infographic below, which takes you on a journey from 1923 and the age of prohibition to modern times, where we expect to welcome recreational cannabis on our shelves in just several months.

history of cannabis in canada infographic

About the author
Alex Trpkovich

Experienced cannabis content creator, writing about the latest cannabis news, stock market updates and cannabis culture.

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