Canada take one: Weed is legal there so I’m moving

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It’s a time-honored tradition that whenever some political drama is going down, thousands of Americans will literally threaten to move to Canada, a country best known for being the birthplace of Ryan Gosling. I used to think the people dishing out these ultimatums were just being dramatic with a lazy sense of humor, but now that our neighbors to the north have legalized weed, I’m starting to see their vision.

As of Wednesday, Oct. 17, Canada has become only the second country in the world (after Uruguay) and the first G7 nation to legalize a nationwide cannabis market, after Bill C-45, approved by Parliament in June, went into effect. Canada’s Cannabis Act allows every adult Canadian to possess, carry and share with other adults up to 30 grams of dried cannabis, enough to roll roughly 60 regular-size joints. They will also be permitted to have four homegrown plants of any size per household.

Canadians who have been convicted with possession of 30 grams or less of marijuana will be pardoned, but the production, distribution or sale of cannabis products will still be an offense for minors. Cannabis will not be sold in the same location as alcohol or tobacco. Additional regulations have been left to provinces to set for themselves, which has created some confusion over what exactly is legal, and for whom.

Minimum age limits for purchasing and consuming vary, but most provinces mirror their rules for alcohol. While the federal law legalizes purchase for anyone over the age of 18, some provinces have no chill and are trying to make it harder to access. Quebec has already raised the minimum age to 21 and banned home-growing, a move some lawyers argue could eventually result in a constitutional challenge. For now, consumption in public spaces will also be technically legal in Quebec, with exceptions, like wherever tobacco smoking is prohibited. However, just as individual provinces have been given certain regulatory powers, so have individual cities, some of which have chosen to ban public consumption entirely.

There is one constant across the country: Online sales are available in all provinces and territories, through private retailers or government-run websites. Also, edibles aren’t a thing yet. While the federal law allows people to make their own pot-infused food at home, the rules around packaged edibles have not been addressed and aren’t expected to be implemented for at least another year. For now, only pre-rolled joints, flower and cannabis oil will be sold from licensed stores.

However, don’t book your plane ticket just yet. There are currently more than 120 licensed cannabis producers in the country, most of which are based in Ontario and B.C. Several companies rapidly expanded ahead of legalization, but labor shortages and supply chain issues may result in a limited supply of recreational cannabis during the initial onset of legalization. And remember not to bring home any souvenirs — you can’t travel across international borders with it, even if it you are flying to Colorado or any of the other eight U.S. states where it has been legalized.

There are more incentives to migrate than just the economic opportunities associated with a national cannabis market. I haven’t spent a lot of time in the Great White North, but I did grow up watching the wildly popular Canadian teen drama series Degrassi, so I imagine it to be a friendly country where everyone has access to healthcare and is related to Drake. I’ve visited enough to know that poutine is their go-to drunk food.

But the most important factor to consider when leaving everything behind and uprooting your entire life to another country? Canada is home to the only Prime Minister on the planet that you would want to call daddy. Justin “when women succeed we all succeed” Trudeau leads their country with baby blue eyes and progressive values. When Trudeau ran for prime minister three years ago, legalizing recreational marijuana was one of his campaign promises. Now that I’m living in a dumpster fire orchestrated by a creepy orange man who watches way too much television, I’m definitely thirsty for a leader who follows through on his promises. My preference is Vancouver, but I also took French for like two years in high school, so I could really fit in in Montreal, too. So comment below if you’re a maple syrup mogul who loves stoner chicks and wants to fly me up there and float my existence until I figure out how to get a work visa.

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