Le­gal cannabis around the cor­ner; don’t mess it up, Canada

Medicine Hat News - - COMMENTS - Jeremy Appel

On Wed­nes­day, Canada will make his­tory by be­ing the first big coun­try to le­gal­ize mar­i­juana na­tion-wide, which if suc­cess­ful could serve as a model for other de­vel­oped na­tions.

Uruguay is the only other state to have le­gal­ized it across the coun­try, which it did in 2013, but with a pop­u­la­tion of 3.4 mil­lion, it’s about one-tenth the size of Canada.

So Canada is en­gag­ing in an ex­per­i­ment, one which will have con­se­quences for cannabis le­gal­iza­tion ad­vo­cates world­wide.

There are still many unan­swered ques­tions, par­tic­u­larly in Medicine Hat, where our city has yet to de­ter­mine its own reg­u­la­tions re­gard­ing the con­sump­tion of le­gal cannabis.

This, of course, isn’t the end of the world. It just means that on le­gal­iza­tion day, the prov­ince’s reg­u­la­tions will kick on, which are much more lax than many Hat­ters wanted.

This will at least give the city the op­por­tu­nity to see what works and what doesn’t.

Of much more geopo­lit­i­cal sig­nif­i­cance, and with far less clar­ity, is the sit­u­a­tion on the U.S. bor­der.

U.S. At­tor­ney Gen­eral Jeff Ses­sions, who’s re­spon­si­ble for law en­force­ment through­out the land, is on the record say­ing, “Good peo­ple don’t smoke mar­i­juana.” He also said he thought the Klan was “OK un­til I learned they smoke pot”; he wasn’t re­fer­ring to the WuTang Clan.

The States have dithered on al­low­ing peo­ple from the Cana­dian cannabis in­dus­try into their coun­try.

First they said cannabis work­ers wouldn’t be per­mit­ted into the coun­try at all, but then piv­oted on Thurs­day to al­low­ing them in as long as they’re not trav­el­ling for busi­ness.

With in­creas­ing num­bers of U.S. states le­gal­iz­ing mar­i­juana, it’s only a mat­ter of time be­fore our south­ern neigh­bour fol­lows our model.

It’s un­likely to hap­pen un­der Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump and his hard­line at­tor­ney gen­eral, but the Demo­cratic party and more lib­er­tar­ian el­e­ments within the Repub­li­cans are cer­tainly mov­ing in that di­rec­tion.

Ac­cord­ing to a Gallup poll from this year, 64 per cent of Amer­i­cans sup­port cannabis le­gal­iza­tion, in­clud­ing a slim ma­jor­ity — 51 per cent — of Repub­li­cans.

By con­trast, a mere 12 per cent of Amer­i­cans sup­ported le­gal­iza­tion when the ques­tion was first asked in 1969 in the wake of the sum­mer of love.

Times are chang­ing and at­ti­tudes on cannabis are evolv­ing along the way, just as they did with gay mar­riage, which was in­con­ceiv­able even 20 years ago.

Older peo­ple, who have be­come ac­cus­tomed to the way things are, may op­pose le­gal­iza­tion on in­stinct, but when push comes to shove, they’re not go­ing to pre­vent it, just as was the case for LGBTQ rights.

Nine U.S. states — Alaska, Wash­ing­ton, Colorado, Cal­i­for­nia, Mass­a­chu­setts, Maine, Ne­vada, Ore­gon and Ver­mont — as well as Wash­ing­ton, D.C., have opted for le­gal­iza­tion in re­cent years.

In the Novem­ber midterms, two more states — Michi­gan and North Dakota — have le­gal­iz­ing recre­ational weed on the bal­lot.

If passed, the Michi­gan ini­tia­tive will al­low any­one to carry a whop­ping 10 ounces on them­selves at a time. The Cana­dian law, for com­par­i­son’s sake, per­mits peo­ple to carry 30 grams — just over one ounce, which is still a lot for per­sonal use — at once.

It’s be­com­ing in­creas­ingly clear, at the very least in Canada and the U.S., that mar­i­juana is sig­nif­i­cantly less so­cially detri­men­tal than al­co­hol.

Peo­ple who get too drunk get into fights. Peo­ple who get too stoned or­der pizza and fall asleep. Don’t mess this one up, Canada. (Jeremy Appel is a News re­porter. To com­ment on this and other edi­to­ri­als, go to www.medicine­hat­news.com/opin­ions.)

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.