After almost one hundred years of Cannabis prohibition, Canada is now entering a regulated and legal market. As the first G7 county to legalize Cannabis, Canada is paving the way for global change. It shows the government of Canada believes adults are mature enough and have the right to make their own choices.
Legalization will bring some expected challenges but also some deserved benefits. The most obvious benefit is that Canadian citizens will have reasonable access to legal, regulated Cannabis products. In some municipalities, individuals will be able to publicly consume Cannabis in designated areas and some will also be allowed to grow a maximum of four plants per household.
Until recently ‘drug paraphernalia’ was illegal to import, export, manufacture, promote, or to sell. Bill C-45 addressed this issue by re-defining a ‘Cannabis accessory’ as ‘rolling papers or wraps, holders, pipes, water pipes, bongs and vaporizers’. This law makes paraphernalia legal in Canada but still restricted, this is a minor change to legislation with potentially big impacts.
Legalization will also make it possible for scientific research in Canada, which will help legitimize the use of Cannabis as a treatment for any medical condition. Canada has a unique opportunity to investigate the potential therapeutic benefits of medical Cannabis, potentially setting a global precedence. Research will help increase popular support of Cannabis use both medical and recreational users. It is also the key to mitigate negative stereotypes and to eliminate the stigma associated with consumption.
Another obvious benefit of legalization is job creation, in many sectors of industry. The U.S. Cannabis industry is now reported to be employing an estimated 100,000 to 150,000 workers as of 2016. Sectors include retailers, wholesale grows, infused products and concentrates companies, testing labs and so on. The emerging industry will also include everything from security and insurance, to compliance, there are also endless possibilities for consulting. It will be really exciting to see what new sectors evolve after legalization!
Advertising regulations in Canada are strict but promoting content on social media is even more difficult. Most social platforms are US based and Cannabis is still illegal there, federally speaking. These platforms do not allow this ‘type’ of content and even ban some related hashtags. Earlier this year, YouTube deleted several well-established Cannabis channels due to the violations of their ‘community guidelines’. In the past, Google Maps has declined to add dispensaries, even though some states in the US have legalized Cannabis. This is slowly beginning to change, as Cannabis becomes more normalized.
Some hard-core advocates in the community say the Cannabis Act isn’t legalization, because of the current advertising restrictions and lack of regulations for topicals, edibles and concentrates. Some other reasons include the lack of consumption lounges and the restriction on public consumption in some municipalities. The biggest concern for experienced users are the new drugged-driving laws, which are unreasonably strict and have serious consequences.
Some of these advocates also feel no one should be allowed to profit from this emerging industry, but how else will Cannabis become legitimate if there is no regulated market? There are some individuals in the community who choose to remain optimistic about the progress, which should not be mistaken for ignorance. Nothing good happens overnight, particularly when the government is involved. In time, Colorado resolved many of these same issues, recently implementing their first Cannabis lounge earlier this last year. The Cannabis Act istechnically legalization and while it may not be perfect it is the framework of our future industry. Regardless, the future looks green for those in the Cannabis community and industry here in Canada.
This quote sums it up-
“Progress on this journey often comes in small increments. Sometimes two steps forward, one step back, compelled by the persistent effort of dedicated citizens. And then sometimes there are days like this when that slow, steady effort is rewarded with justice that arrives like a thunderbolt.”
— Barack Obama, Time.com
This social change is a direct result of many advocates and medical patients who paved the way over many decades, we thank you!