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Cannabis will be legal in Canada on Oct. 17, says PM Trudeau

In a bid to significantly shift the market share away from organized crime and protect the country’s youth populace, marijuana will become legal nationwide in Canada from October 17, said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Wednesday.

The bill to legalize cannabis was given final passage by the Senate on Tuesday, legislation that is poised to make Canada only the second country in the world to legalize pot across the country. Trudeau said the provinces required more time to prepare for retail sales and implement the new regime than originally forecast ed.

"We heard from provinces and territories who told us they needed more time to transition to this new framework, so our government will continue to work in full partnership with them, to ensure the smooth and orderly implementation of this new law across Canada," Trudeau told reporters during an end-of-session news conference.

“It is our hope as of October 17 there will be a smooth operation of retail cannabis outlets operated by the provinces with an online mail delivery system operated by the provinces that will ensure that this happens in an orderly fashion,” he said.

The prime minister said at the news conference that the main goal is to take a “significant part of the market share away from organized crime”.

“Over the following months and indeed years we will completely replace or almost completely replace the organized crime market on that,” he said.

The announcement comes after a historic vote in the Senate Tuesday night to pass Bill C-45, the government’s legislation to legalize cannabis.

The bill finally overcame the final legislative hurdle Tuesday evening, after more than a year of intensive study in both the House and Senate, passing by a vote of 52 to 29 with two abstentions.

Following in the strides of Uruguay, Canada is allowing a nationwide, legalized marijuana market. However, each Canadian province is working up its own regulations for the eventual pot sales. Also, the federal government and the provinces will be required to officially publish regulations that will govern the cannabis trade.

“The legislation is transformative,” said Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould, adding it “marks a wholesale shift in how our country approaches cannabis, leaving behind a failed model of prohibition.”

She urged Canadians to follow the existing law until the Cannabis Act comes into force.

“The law still remains the law,” said Wilson-Raybould.

With Canada’s imminent legalization of marijuana, the grappling implications not only fall on the provincial governments, but on the police forces and universities. Post-secondary school institutions also need to create new policies on whether pot can be sold—and even consumed—on campus. Former professor, NaheedNenshi expressed concerns about the effects of marijuana on developing minds, stating that he’d prefer if dispensaries and “cannabis lounges” didn’t appear in universities.

However, with declining grades and piling workloads, many students in Canada struggle with the demands of universities. Battling to write various academic papers in little time, and not just because the subject matter is difficult but more often because academic writing is a skill that takes years to perfect and that most students will never use again in their lives.

While a wiser and healthier choice would be utilizing an essay writing service for Canadian students, Stehen Trainer, a 26-year-old student at Halifax,chooses to self-medicate with marijuana before going to bed. Not only did his sleeping cycle improve, but so did his grade point average, which rose from 2.4 to 3.9 in his last two years of undergrad.

“I attribute some of that improvement to marijuana,” said Trainer in a report. “I am not promoting it, but I definitely believe it helped me focus more on school.”

“By and large, students use [cannabis] to chill out with friends, listen to music and watch movies,” said Geraint Osborne, a sociologist and associate professor at the University of Alberta. “They use it as a reward. Once exams are done, they go out and get high—the same way others use alcohol.”

In 2017, a study published in the Canadian Journal of Public Health noted that young males like Trainer aged 20 to 24, are most likely to become problematic marijuana users.

“My stance is that it should be banned,” said Michael Szafron, co-author of the study and associate professor at the University of Saskatchewan’s School of Public Health.

He noted greater accessibility to the drug risks increased impairment, ultimately affecting a student’s ability to perform in class.

“If it is available that easily, what’s to stop a student who is anxious about exams from having marijuana brownie with their Starbucks latte prior to the exam?” he quizzed.

Szafron stressed the importance of introducing educational seminars and presentations ahead of legalization date.

“We need an awareness campaign, so that if people haven’t been using it, and they decide to, they go in with their eyes open,” he said.

There are still many questions left unanswered, including how the police force will test motorists suspected of driving under the influence, what to do about those with prior marijuana convictions and just how the rules governing home cultivation will work.

However, Trudeau said the government won’t discuss pardons of past convictions until legalization is in full effect.

“There’s no point looking at pardons while the old law is in the books,” said Trudeau.