CBC News Online | Updated Aug. 2, 2005
New statistics released in July 2004 suggest more than 10 million Canadians aged 15 or older have tried marijuana or hashish at least once. Under Canada's current laws, those 10 million Canadians are guilty of a crime.
But many people want marijuana possession decriminalized, and courts in some provinces have even struck down the federal law.
In some cases, the laws have been struck down because of people using marijuana for medicinal purposes, and courts have said blanket prohibition of marijuana infringes on their rights. Canada was the first country to regulate the medical use of marijuana. CBC.ca has an audio diary of a woman who uses marijuana to control her multiple sclerosis symptoms.
Even if the laws against possessing marijuana are decriminalized, growing marijuana will still be a criminal offence (except if done under contract from Health Canada). Grow operations, such as the one found in January 2004 at the former Molson brewery in Barrie, Ont., are getting more and more sophisticated.
The debate over marijuana has been raging for decades, and politicians and activists on both sides have had a lot to say on the topic. (So have readers of CBC.ca.) The CBC Archives has reports going back to 1969 on the marijuana debate from CBC Radio and CBC Television.