Prime Minister Justin Trudeau hopes to legalize marijuana in all of Canada by Canada Day on July 1, 2018. The country is still waiting on the legislation, but it will allow individual provinces to practice and experience their own cannabis laws. Once legal, Quebec can issue separate legislation, which the province is certainly struggling with now, but what many don’t know that Quebec has a history with marijuana dating back to the 1660s.
At this time, King Louis XIV’s representative Jean Talon was desperate to grow cannabis to send to France for textile exports, but settlers and farmers in Quebec preferred growing food crops over the cash crop. Talon eventually forced farmers to grow cannabis by taking their thread, which they needed to make and repair their clothes, so they had no choice. Then, Britain took control of Canada in 1763 when it needed cannabis the most, so by 1790, Britain sent 2,000 bushels of cannabis seeds to farmers in Quebec. Britain offered the seeds for free to farmers across the province, but many of them were reluctant to support the British Navy by growing hemp, so only about a dozen or so farmers accepted the seeds. Once cannabis is legal, Quebec farmers can choose when and how they grow their cannabis.