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Marijuana Legalization Day In Canada Is Finally Here

By Roger Malespin November 5, 2018 Photo/istock/AlexLMX

 One of the most important events in the history of cannabis culture is here - the day a major Western nation grants full legalization at the federal level to marijuana. As of October 17th, Canada has officially become the 2nd country in the world to legalize marijuana, and the effects of this historic event will be felt all around the world.
The rules are complex, as expected in a modern democracy. For starters, only fresh or dried flower, seeds, plants and oil will be available on legalization day. The potency of these products will be noticeably lower than that typically found in black market marijuana, but will not be widely available at first. Product surplus is expected to hit within a few months, so by no later than spring of 2019.

Perhaps the most important part of the new law is the that adults will be allowed to possess and grow their own recreational marijuana. The minimum buying age requirement varies between provinces, but no where is it an offense to grow and possess your own. This is a crucial aspect to true legalization - medical marijuana is imperative and will help save lives, but the freedom for adults to consume at their own discretion just like they can with far more dangerous legal substances is just as important.

There are, naturally, some restrictions that go with it. For example, marijuana products cannot be sold in the same establishments that sell alcohol and/or tobacco. The dispensaries will be Province or Territory regulated business and a limited amount of federally-licensed producers. There are also some strict marketing rules, effectively shutting them out of advertising money, but that isn’t expected to hurt the businesses much.

So why is this such a big deal for marijuana culture around the world? Well, simply put, this is very likely the beginning of the end for marijuana prohibition. Perception about medical marijuana is where it all started. There is almost universal approval of medical marijuana everywhere, and this has affected the overall perception of marijuana. What Canada has enacted is a confirmation of not just the science behind the medical benefits of marijuana, but also the fact that it is a harmless, victimless substances that should be available for adults in any free society.

Anti marijuana sentiment is rooted in two ideas - that the science behind medical marijuana is inconclusive, and that marijuana legalization will normalize the negative aspects of it. For the first point, the science is now more than ever in favor of medical marijuana being effective against seizures, chronic pain, and various other physical ailments that have had no good options in past decades. It seems more data is coming in favor of it every day, so the first anti marijuana pillar is essentially meaningless now.

The second point is fair and worth talking about, but we can say if alcohol is trusted to be used at proper discretion, then there’s no way marijuana should be restricted. It’s true that marijuana affects people differently, and not everyone should consume it, but all of its negatives are tied to the individual, not society at large. Driving deaths, domestic abuse, and various other serious crimes have long been directly tied to irresponsible alcohol consumption, but no serious crime has resulted from marijuana use. Canada’s version of legalization recognizes this and, in a fair compromise, allows its equivalent of states to color inside the lines of the outline of the law.

Some people in the media are calling Canada’s legalization an experiment. It’s not an experiment - that would imply that the outcome is unsure. What it really is, is a long overdue amendment to laws rooted in greed, racism, and total disregard of science and personal testimony. There will be no drop off of the workforce, millions of people will not be going through a ‘gateway drug’ to harder substances, and no people will go insane with paranoia.

Canada’s legalization is the point of no return on marijuana prohibition. Once the world sees how a free, stable society can regulate and responsibly use marijuana, there will be no excuses for the already weakened naysayers to hide behind. In a short time, this day will prove what everyone in the cannabis community and many outside of it have known for decades - that responsible adults can and should have the right to consume marijuana at their own discretion.

References

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/16/world/canada/marijuana-legalization-explainer.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cannabis_in_Canada

https://www.canada.ca/en/services/health/campaigns/cannabis/canadians.