Canada is about to legalize cannabis; here’s what you need to know

Seattle Times

On Wednesday, Canada will become the largest country in the world to legalize cannabis. The move will not only drastically reshape marijuana in that country, but means that the entire West Coast — from Alaska to California — has become a marijuana marketplace where the formerly taboo drug is legal and commonplace.

Ahead of that shift, officials on both sides of the 49th Parallel are warning pot users not to get so comfortable they forget the border exists. Their message: Do not cross with cannabis.

In a report this year, the Border Policy Research Institute at Western Washington University wrote that as legalization spreads, “there is a growing misconception in Cascadia about the legality of cannabis,” including people not realizing pot is illegal at the northern border. If that continues, the report said, it could take longer to cross the border as more agents are tied up questioning people about pot or searching vehicles.

Laurie Trautman, director of the institute, said some young adults in northern Washington may not remember a time when marijuana wasn’t at least semi-legal. (Washington first legalized medical marijuana in 1998.) “My biggest fear, really, is you have kind of a younger generation that doesn’t really know that marijuana is illegal in the United States,” Trautman said.

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Monday, October 15, 2018 - 10:13am