The History of Marijuana in Manitoba

In April 2017, Canada issued legislation to legalize recreational marijuana nationwide by Canada Day on July 1, 2018. In preparation for the new law, many provinces are discussing how they want to regulate the drug, if they choose to regulate. Manitoba is among one of the provinces planning for legalization, though the drug has been discussed since the 1960s, when Manitoba’s history with cannabis first began.

Some may argue the marijuana history in Manitoba began in the 1920s, when Canada prohibited the drug because fear of marijuana was at a high. By the 1960s, the counterculture had emerged at the University of Manitoba, where stories of extensive marijuana use were common. The student newspaper, The Manitoban, revealed many of these stories, reporting that four faculty members openly acknowledged their marijuana use, in addition to two heads of departments and perhaps half of the students. The school’s president denied these charges and threatened with lawsuits, though students reported “they could get it if they wanted to.” By the 1990s, Harvest Hemp Foods began importing and manufacturing more hemp products, which led to important research and relationships with farmers and government officials. The University of Manitoba Hemp Awareness Committee (UMHAC) was then established in 1994, which became the Manitoba Hemp Alliance in 1995 to help the Manitoba government advance its hemp agriculture, which the nationwide marijuana legalization will certainly advance.

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