The History of Marijuana in Alberta

Canada is currently in the process of introducing legislation to legalize recreational marijuana by Canada Day in July 2018. In preparation for the new law, many provinces are discussing how they want to regulate the drug, if they choose to regulate. Alberta is one of the provinces preparing for legalization with regulations, but its history with cannabis isn’t as positive to the drug, as it dates back to the 1920s.

During the 1920s, Canada as a whole experienced a hysteric fear of drugs, including marijuana. This is partly because of Emily Murphy, a strong-minded, trailblazing, Alberta resident who fought strongly for women’s rights and to ban marijuana. She is most known for fighting for women to be considered “persons” under Canadian law, but also for her racist war on drugs. Murphy believed the cause of Canada’s drug problem was  immigrants and anyone who wasn’t white, because she believed they all banded together in an international conspiracy called The Ring. According to Murphy, The Ring planned to corrupt the white race, with all the drugs and marijuana they introduced into the country, so the following year Canada banned cannabis. Fortunately, now Alberta no longer fear cannabis, so the province will welcome recreational marijuana legalization.


It’s no secret that my husband and I are longtime cannabis and hemp advocates. We’ve cheered as the majority of Americans have come around to supporting legalization, and applauded as cannabis law reform spreads from state to state. Still, decades of prohibitionist propaganda have left many in the dark about the powerful wellness potential of these long-demonized plants.

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