Times they are a changin’

 In Opinion

The Bill to legalize recreational use of marijuana has made it through the senate, meaning pot will be legal across Canada in the near future. 

Many people will be opposed to the idea of recreational drugs becoming more accessible but it is unlikely to increase usage, although time will tell.

As everyone knows, this is being rolled out by the federal Liberal government, with specifics being set in various jurisdictions. 

Provinces and territories given time to prepare for the sale to become legal on October 17 (people are speculating the date is to mark the anniversary of Gord Downieʼs death).

It will be very interesting to see how the product is rolled out to retail but it will be more interesting to see how people use it. 

The details are still unknown as to what products will be available.

The idea of legalization is not to increase its use but to regulate its use. Legalization will mean that people carrying and using small amounts won’t face legal action, keeping them out of courts for what is widely considered a benign crime. There will still be illegal use and underage users, just like with alcohol. 

It will be interesting to see how attitudes toward recreational marijuana change, given that most people have accepted the medicinal use. 

When a law prohibits something, like smoking in restaurants, the affect is swift but when the law changes to allow something that is considered culturally taboo to many, change isn’t always swift. Take for instance, a favourite example, it became legal for women to go topless in Ontario and we still don’t see that, not even on beaches. 

There is still a stigma attached to marijuana. We have all been conditioned to think that it is something bad or to be done in secret. How adaptable is the human brain in that it can turn a social condition around and suddenly see something as an acceptable, under certain confines of the law.

There is a lot of talk about keeping marijuana out of the hands of under age users and reducing profits for dealers but it appears to come down to public opinion. There is enough public will to see it legalized. 

Let’s hope that now, there is a well executed plan to purge the court system of all actions that are made legal under this new law and that an intelligent communication plan is executed to educate the public about the changes. That will be key in a successful transition to legalizing marijuana. 

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