With legalization came new battlefronts.
Thankfully, Canadian cannabis advocates have proven well-equipped to raise their voices in the face of these new challenges, taking on causes unique to the post-prohibition era, including calling out misinformation from Health Canada, rallying support for micro-producers, and advocating to strike conviction records for actions that would now be considered legal.
Here, meet Canada’s favourite cannabis advocacy groups, as chosen by you, Leafly readers.
Canada’s favourite cannabis advocacy group
1. SheCann Cannabis Inc.
The online community for women to share their medicinal cannabis knowledge and personal experiences continues to be an important support for those navigating an imperfect system. By uniting medical cannabis patients, SheCann has become a voice of political influence on issues such as taxation and the right to access while also empowering its members to vote with their wallets to support patient-centric businesses.
By the end of 2019, the carefully vetted group of women and male allies had grown to 3,900 members. “I am motivated by the incredible capacity for kindness that medical cannabis patients have for one another,” founder Ashleigh Brown says.
More of Canada’s favourite cannabis advocacy groups
2. Cannabis Amnesty
Annamaria Enenajor was inspired to found the non-profit Cannabis Amnesty, which advocates for cannabis charges to be expunged, after witnessing the real-world consequences of cannabis convictions.
“Black Canadians, Indigenous people of Canada, and low-income Canadians are more likely to be stopped, searched, arrested, [and] incarcerated for cannabis possession offences than white Canadians,” Enenajor said during an appearance before the House of Commons last May.
While Bill C-93 was passed in June to pardon cannabis convictions, only 118 of 234 applicants had been granted a pardon as of Dec. 1, 2019. In 2020, Cannabis Amnesty will continue to advocate on behalf of the more than 500,000 Canadians who still live under the shadow of a cannabis possession charge.
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3. NORML Canada
Though founded in 1978, the non-profit’s mission to eliminate civic and criminal penalties for private cannabis use was more vital than ever this year. As leaders in the public cannabis discussion, NORML held regressive viewpoints accountable, denouncing Minister of Health Patty Hajdu’s statement that consuming edibles is harmful to one’s health. NORML Canada also committed to shaping the next generation of cannabis innovators by joining Centennial College’s advisory committee in developing cannabis cultivation courses.
Canadians for Fair Access to Medical Marijuana maintained their place on the frontlines of cannabis legislation. In 2019, the group rallied for the government to stop taxing patients’ medical cannabis.
Just as cannabis is no ordinary industry, neither is the Association of Canadian Cannabis Retailers an ordinary business association. By lobbying for the rights of independent cannabis retailers in BC and across Canada, ACCRES is pushing for progress in such diverse areas as strain availability and micro producer sustainability, as well as advocating for the legalization of consumption lounges.
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