The History of Marijuana in Ontario

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau hopes to legalize marijuana in all of Canada by July 1, 2018, Canada Day.Though the country is still waiting on the legislation, it will allow individual provinces to practice and experience their own cannabis laws. Once legal, Ontario can issue separate legislation, but it’s very unlikely the province will attempt to ban the drug since it has a history with marijuana dating back to 1985. During this time, Bill Fitzgerald discovered 500-year-old pipes with resin scrapings in Morriston, Ontario, which proved that Native Americans used cannabis where they discovered the pipes.

The province didn’t take another step in marijuana reform until 2000, nearly 30 years after the Commission of Inquiry into the Non-Medical Use of Drugs, or Le Dain Commission, recommended that the federal government repeal marijuana prohibition. Ontario finally responded to the Commission’s recommendation when a court of appeals ruled cannabis prohibition for possession and use unconstitutional because it infringed on Terrence Parker’s right to life, liberty, and security of the person. Terrence Parker consumed cannabis to treat his epileptic seizures because prescription drugs failed to help, but he was arrested in 1996 for marijuana possession, cultivation, and distribution.  The judge then ruled in his favor because Parker needs marijuana to control his symptoms, and by the following year, Canada introduced its first medical marijuana law.


The New York Cannabis Film Festival returned to Brooklyn this past weekend for its fourth annual installment, this time at the venerable Bushwick arts venue House of Yes. Presented by cannabis community and events platform High NY, the film festival featured not only comedy and adventure on its programming, but also several documentary films tackling political and social issues around cannabis legalization — and reminding us how far the movement has come, and how much further it has yet to go. “Our mission here is to use media to normalize cannabis,” said Michael Zaytsev (a.k.a.

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