The history of cannabis in Nova Scotia

Nova Scotians consume more cannabis than any other province in the country. It’s not surprising then, that some people think the Canadian cannabis industry began here.

Weed has been around for over 65 million years. It was one of the earliest plants to be domesticated by humans, and we’ve been cultivating it for at least 10,000 years.

Nova Scotia’s first cannabis crop was planted in 1606 by Louis Hebert, a successful botanist who was a friend of explorer Samuel de Champlain. Cannabis was a crucial world commodity at the time. Cannabis seeds and flowers were used across Europe and Asia as food and medicine, but most of the cannabis grown in Europe was used to make the ropes and sails required by all navy and merchant ships. In fact, France wanted to grow hemp for its navy so badly – they exempted the crop from the taxes paid to the Catholic Church. And this is how the Catholic Church became a sworn enemy of cannabis.

NOVA SCOTIA MEDICAL ASSOCIATION RECOMMENDS CANNABIS FOR GOOD HEALTH AND BETTER SEX, 1897 F.W. Goodwin gave a lecture in 1897 recommending cannabis as a remedy for a raft of ailments, and also recommended it recreationally:  Dr. Goodwin was president of the Nova Scotia Medical Association.

Canada Goes From Weed Prohibition To Legalization In 95 Years.

In 1923 Cannabis was defined as a narcotic and added to the Opium and Narcotic Drug Act and Cannabis became outlawed in Canada. It was outlawed after the Director of the Federal Division of Narcotic Control returned from League of Nations (now United Nations) meetings where the international control of the drug was discussed. Industrial hemp was also thrown aside as it was seen to be equally as bad as cannabis itself.

Nearly 15 years after it was outlawed, the first seizures of cannabis started happening in Canada.

Terry Parker (Toronto) developed epilepsy at age four after he was hit in the head by a swing. Prescription drugs couldn’t stop Terry Parker’s epileptic seizures. Neither could two brain surgeries. The only thing that worked was marijuana. He was arrested for possession in 1987, but acquitted due to “medical necessity.”

  • On July 18, 1996, Parker was arrested for possession, cultivation and trafficking, and he appealed to the charter rights to “life, liberty and security.” In 1997 a judge agreed that Parker’s charter rights were violated, and ordered the police to return the plants they had seized.
  • On July 31, 2000, the Ontario Court of Appeal ruled that the law prohibiting marijuana possession was unconstitutional because it did not take users of medicinal marijuana into account.
  • In 2001– Canada’s marijuana laws declared unconstitutional, prompting the federal government to create the Canadian Medical Marijuana Access Regulations (MMAR)
  • Starting in 2003 several courts began throwing out possession charges based on the Parker decision.
  • In 2013 The federal government updates medical cannabis legislation to the Marijuana for Medical Purposes Regulations (MMPR)
  • 2016 Following the decision form Allard v. Canada, the federal government implemented the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations (ACMPR)

Going from back alley buys and busts to collecting taxes on every gram sold

Bill C-45, which legalizes the recreational use of weed in this country, was introduced on April 2017 and passed by the House of Commons seven months later.

On Oct.17, 2018, Canada was the second country in the world — and first in the G7 — to legalize marijuana production, sale and consumption.

Before pot could be legal it had to be normal. Even Nova Scotia’s former premier Darrell Dexter, now a cannabis lobbyist, conceded that he smoked some at university.  Enter the Trailer Park Boys…. we can’t discuss cannabis culture in Nova Scotia without mentioning “the boys”.

For years Ricky, Julian, and Bubbles have been the voice of Nova Scotia’s lost and stoned generation. Since it premiered  2001, Trailer Park Boys has gone from an underground cult favorite to an international sensation.

Trailer Park Boys was the child of Mike Clattenburg, a Nova Scotian screenwriter and producer who first thought up the three main characters in the mid-1990s. After an early career as a local TV producer in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Clattenburg shot a feature-length Trailer Park Boys pilot on his own dime.

After over 10 seasons, the trio has signed a deal that will see them bring TBS branded weed to the public.

It doesn’t take rocket appliances to know that it’s probably a good move. I mean, who out there who hasn’t wanted to smoke some of that driveway hash or hopefully grab a bag of  “Green Bastard” or “Steve French?”

History of cannabis in Canada. A timeline:

You can familiarize yourself with the good and bad days of cannabis in Canada on the infographic below, which takes you on a journey from 1923 and the age of prohibition to legalization.

Source Greencamp: History of cannabis in Canada

Source Greencamp image: History of cannabis in Canada: https://greencamp.com/history-cannabis-canada-legalization/

The history of cannabis over the next 100 years is a tale yet to be written in. But, without question, the best is yet to come.