This case study identifies the key factors that preceded the introduction of the Cannabis Act, using newspaper articles from the Globe and Mail between January 1, 2000 and April 14, 2017. It develops a chronology of cannabis-related events that influenced the social, political, or legal nature of cannabis, and categorizes other stories into five major themes: judicial decisions, medical regulations, commercial industry, international developments, and public opinion. Analysis reveals three key findings that set the stage for legalization, including the government’s failure to create a constitutionally sound cannabis access program, Colorado and Washington’s legal precedent, and a ballooning commercial industry. Law reform benefits, such as product quality, accessibility, and tax revenue are discussed and contrasted with several limitations of the Act, including consumption-related risks, criminal penalties, and ongoing stigma. Overall, the Act is a bold reform that marks a new era in Canadian drug policy.
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Thesis advisor: Boyd, Neil
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