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On December 8th, Canada’s Miss Universe contestant dressed as a weed leaf for the “National Costume” part of the pageant competition, both to raise awareness and put an end to stigma surrounding cannabis.
Pro-cannabis advocate Alyssa Boston wore a dazzling green cannabis-themed dress and headpiece crafted by Nicaraguan designer Neftali Espinoza.
Each year, contestants from all over the world use the “National Costume” segment to bring awareness to a novel aspect of their country of origin; Boston chose to highlight Canada’s legalization of cannabis.
According to the announcement made during the show, “This sparkly green costume represents the legalization of cannabis for medical purposes. This contestant wants to end the stigma that’s been around since 1920. If you’ve got the need, you can grab legal weed with Canada.”
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Canada legalized recreational cannabis nationally back in 2018, making it the second country in the world to legalize the plant, after Uruguay. Medical cannabis has been legal in Canada since as early as 2001.
Legal cannabis was initially limited to flower and oils, but the Canadian government did later decide to expand legalization to include the sale of cannabis edibles, extracts, and topicals beginning no earlier than mid-December.
According to GMA News Online, in a video posted to Instagram Stories for Miss Universe, Boston proudly proclaimed, “I am medical marijuana ‘cause Canada was the second country that legalized it.”
Shortly before taking the stage, in an Instagram post Boston (@_alyssaboston) wrote,
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In an interview with The Growth Op, Boston, who doesn’t actually use cannabis herself, explained, “It’s a little different for a beauty queen to talk about cannabis. It’s something that we’re very proud of here in Canada. It’s a brand new industry, and there’s a lot of potential that we see in the future.”
“I’m pretty proud to actually have the knowledge about it and speak about it. No one really wants to talk about it because it’s a touchy subject, especially internationally. I think me bringing it up brings awareness about it and gets people talking, not only in Canada but internationally as well. I want to raise awareness,” said Boston.
In the end, Miss South Africa, Zozibini Tunzi, an outspoken activist against gender-based violence, won the coveted title of Miss Universe. Miss Puerto Rico, Madison Anderson, came in second, and third place went to Miss Mexico, Sofía Aragón.
Although Miss Canada did not place in the final round of the Miss Universe competition, she did make it to the top 10, and her marijuana-themed costume certainly drew a lot of attention, spurring discussion around cannabis legalization, and that’s something to celebrate.