[dropcap class=”kp-dropcap radius”]A[/dropcap] recent conviction set forth by a Canadian judge reveals the gradual changes the country is making towards the acceptance of cannabis culture. Judge Pierre Chevalier of Quebec, made history one day in late November when he charged, 46-year-old cannabis patient, Mario Larouche $1.30 for cultivating 30 cannabis plants. Larouche, who suffers from pain as a result of a 2000 car accident, tried many times to get certification for medical cannabis, but was denied. Taking matters into his own hands, Larouche cultivated plants for personal use, which were seized from his truck by police in late June. When Chevalier announced Larouche was guilty, no one expected the verdict that he was to follow.
“We are in a society where people are accused of possession and use of marijuana while more than half the population has already consumed. These are laws that are obsolete and ridiculous,” Chevalier said in support of his decision. So far, 600,000 Canadians have criminal records for possession of small amounts of cannabis, while statistics show that cannabis use amongst Canadians 15 to 24 is the highest amongst the developed world, according to the Washington Post. With the government spending 500 million in Canadian dollars annually on drug reformation, roughly 50 million of that goes towards regulating cannabis as police forces conduct massive sweeps of cannabis grow sites each year.
“We are in a society where people are accused of possession and use of marijuana while more than half the population has already consumed. These are laws that are obsolete and ridiculous.”
Although the country has shown indifference towards cannabis, recently instated Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau promised to make it legal as early as 2016, according to Yahoo News. Trudeau, like Chevalier, believes that cannabis prohibition is outdated and unjustified. So far, there is no specific information as to how Trudeau and the liberal party plan to begin this journey, but they have revealed plans to regulate cannabis similar to Colorado and Washington.
Support from Canadians is evident as cannabis support is at its highest rate in three decades. A recent poll conducted by Forum Research revealed that 59 percent of those who participated were in support of the Liberal Party’s plans to legalize cannabis recreationally.
Although things seem to be changing for the better, there are still those who are clinging onto cannabis prohibition for dear life. CULTURE got in touch with Larouche’s lawyer, Catherine Barriére Gratton, who informed us that the Crown’s office is appealing the sentence. Gratton went on to state in an email, “Legal precedents in similar cases were presented before the Court and have shown the Court’s clemency in such situations. Fines are sometimes presented as joint submissions and given in our district for similar cases.” Let’s hope the Court’s clemency allows Larouche to receive the medical attention he needs and is convicted fairly for his actions.