CANADA: Pot activists in Canada and elsewhere will be taking part today in what’s being billed as a “Global Marijuana March.” In this country, they will be calling for the decriminalization of marijuana.
They might also ask why it became illegal in the first place.
That happened in 1923, and if there was any kind of parliamentary debate historians have been unable to find a record of it.
When Parliament decided to add marijuana to the schedule of proscribed drugs that year, Canada became one of the first countries to making smoking pot illegal. The U.S. didn’t accomplish that until 14 years later, in the midst of the Great Depression.
In 1923, then prime minister William Lyon Mackenzie King’s Liberal government introduced an Act to Prohibit the Improper Use of Opium and other Drugs. The federal health minister at the time, Henri Beland, said the bill was a consolidation of other legislation that had been passed over the previous few years, with some changes.