Weed control, with a new twist
Potholes are among those perpetual problems that we expect somebody to fix. Warm weather and thaws trigger the creation of new craters in our roads, and trigger demands that the roads departments fill the canyons, now.
Since we pay taxes, and this is a free country, we are entitled to utter seasonal complaints about our governments spending our money in all the wrong places. The governments have plenty of money for expenses that we judge to be ludicrous, but it seems that funds are scarce when it comes time to repair the cracks and bumps and other nuisances we encounter on a daily basis.
Road maintenance is one of the main, and most expensive, responsibilities of municipalities, which, as we are often reminded, are always be expected to do more with less.
As of July 1, apart from potholes, pot will be just another topic local governments will have to worry about.
For decades, municipalities and counties have operated weed eradication programs but “weed control” will take on a new twist when local governments will be obliged to enact rules governing the production and use of recreational marijuana.
Obviously, legislation is not on the minds of the many whose spirits will be particularly high this Canada Day, when the federal government is to officially introduce The Cannabis Act, also known as Bill C-45.
Woo-hoo! Isn’t this a great country? Let’s party with Mary Jane! Who’s bringing the brownies? Only a dope would not celebrate the legalization of grass. But, of course, despite changing attitudes, cannabis remains a complex, and serious, subject.
Which is why the lead-up to Legal Pot Day has been dominated by far too much fretting, posturing, and calculating and not enough chilling.
The government has said that its “goal for legalizing, strictly regulating, and restricting access to cannabis is to keep cannabis out of the hands of Canadian youth, and to prevent organized crime from continuing to profit from the illegal cannabis market.” Critics whine the whole idea is half-baked. Yet, those who think the hippies have finally taken over, and are ruining what the elite Liberals have not yet destroyed, ought to be reminded that potheads pay taxes, and high rollers will pay even more taxes once they can procure government-approved marijuana.
Fiscally responsible people should be pleased to know that taxes on 400,000 kilograms of marijuana will amount to $1 billion, per year. Plus, burgeoning industries are getting off the ground to grow, process, distribute and sell the popular flowering herbs. Spikes in potato chip sales will be just some of the other economic spin-offs to be generated when toking becomes officially legit.
In Ontario, weed will only be sold legally by the Ontario Cannabis Retail Corporation, a subsidiary of the Liquor Control Board of Ontario. Of course, for the foreseeable future, small communities will be deprived of another vital service because none of the first 29 locations announced so far is located in rural parts of the province. However, OCRC outlets will be open in Ottawa and Kingston, which are both lovely places to visit. Basically, pot will be regulated the same way alcohol is now. One exception is that adults will be able to produce their own mari- juana legally.
Once the law is in effect, adults will be able to buy fresh or dried cannabis, cannabis oil, plants and seeds for cultivation from either a provincially or territorially regulated retailer, or where this option is not available, directly from a federally licensed producer.
There will be limits on possession and production. People will be allowed to have up to 30 grams of dried legal cannabis or equivalent in public and share that same amount with other adults.
Green thumbs will be permitted to cultivate up to four plants in their own home and “alter cannabis at home in order to prepare varying types of cannabis products (e.g., edibles) for personal use provided that no dangerous organic solvents are used in the process.”
Many dry, yet vital, considerations must be considered as July 1 approaches.
“Rising to the local challenge of cannabis legalization” is the lead-in to a warning from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, cautioning that “the nationwide legalization of non-medical cannabis by the summer of 2018 presents major challenges for all orders of government.”
“And of course, municipalities form the order of government closest to daily life and commerce -- building more livable communities, handling crises, and doing what it takes to keep residents safe and wellserved. We are also very much on the front lines of implementing this new federal commitment. Our cities and communities, after all, are the places where non-medical cannabis will be legally sold and consumed,” states FCM president Jenny Gerbasi, Deputy-Mayor of Winnipeg. “Getting this right is a big job,” she points out. “Local governments will face significant new enforcement and operational challenges in the months and years ahead. And those challenges don’t end with policing. There is a world of bylaws to develop and business licensing rules to review.”
Municipalities have received guides so local officials, who love to worry about risk mitigation and due diligence, can ensure that the burden imposed by the new federal law is sustainable.
The information package deals with topics such as land use management, location and scale of cultivation and processing, personal cultivation, public consumption, promotions, advertising, signage and marijuana in the workplace. The burning question: “Can I bring weed brownies to the staff party?” Probably not, unless you want a visit from the Ontario Provincial Police. The law states that no person shall consume cannabis in a workplace. Naturally, lawyers are working even more overtime to prepare for all of the legal fall-out that will inevitably be created in this brave, new, hazy world of ours.
Some of the rules are still fuzzy, yet employers are being advised that marijuana ought to be treated the same way alcohol and illicit substances are handled in the workplace.
What about an employee who wanted to bring a joint to the office and light it after work? Or, would it be fine for a worker to take a few “hits” during lunch?
If an employer does not want the work environment to stink of booze, why would a company tolerate the stench of grass, now that pot is legal?
Like municipalities, private sector businesses have many concerns to tend to; they certainly do not want to have to deal with “reefer madness.”
Despite legitimate worries about the long-term ramifications of legalized pot, it is highly unlikely that marijuana use will suddenly go through the roof simply because smoking up is now legal.
But it is safe to say that after this Canada Day, our country will be a much different, and possibly happier, place.
Legalized pot will lead to a new “world of bylaws”