Yesterday marked a date that will certainly be one to remember in the nation’s history books.
Three years ago, a platform that was at the forefront of then-prime minister hopeful Justin Trudeau was that his Liberal Party would legalize recreational marijuana use.
Oct. 17 marks that campaign promise coming to fruition, as Canada becomes the second nation in the world to legalize recreational marijuana use nation wide, alongside Uruguay.
With legal pot sales expected to hit $1 billion in the final months of this year, and estimates that up to five million Canadians will buy it, a huge industry has sprung up almost overnight to feed the demand, even though numerous councils around southern Alberta, including Taber, have been less than enthusiastic about the proposition, with either highly delayed, or highly restrictive land-use bylaws governing marijuana-based businesses.
Whether one is for or against today’s nation-wide legalization of recreational cannabis use, it has fear mongers on both sides. Often in He Said, She Said arguments, somewhere in the middle is the truth.
Will it be the End of Days as some in Taber keep beating the drum to? No, but neither will the transition be seamless as some of the biggest supporters of legalization are implying.
Workplaces, municipalities and schools across the nation have been updating their policies to take into consideration their limits of acceptable cannabis use in certain areas.
New testing will be unveiled along Canadian roadways for cannabis-related impairment behind the wheel where police have the authority to conduct roadside intoxication tests, including oral fluid drug tests.
Also, to make it illegal to drive within two hours of being over the legal limit of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive component in pot. Having between two and five nanograms of THC per milliliter of blood carries a criminal conviction and a maximum fine of $1,000, while having more than five nanograms could bring a prison sentence of up to 10 years.
There are plenty of resources at one’s disposal — including law enforcement officials themselves — in educating yourself on the Do’s and Don’ts of legal cannabis consumption and growing. Educate yourself with all the credible resources out there if you decide to enter the world of recreational cannabis use, although for many it may be much ado about nothing. A recent Nanos survey has shown nearly eight out of 10 Canadians are uninterested in smoking cannabis once its legal. If one were not partaking in cannabis before, it is highly unlikely they will participating in it now.
It is going across the Canadian border, especially the United States, where you will find people with not as liberal of a viewpoint when it comes to marijuana.
Taking cannabis between provinces is allowed, as is packing pot on domestic flights. But taking it across international borders, including into the United States, is illegal.
Recreational marijuana use is legal in nearly a dozen U.S. states, but the American federal law against marijuana applies at border points. Anyone caught trying to bring it into the U.S. can be denied entry to the U.S. for life. American border agents have also slapped Canadians with lifetime bans for admitting to past cannabis use.
For every person who champions the added tax revenue and business opportunities, there will be another outlining the societal/enforcement costs.
Some have noted what kind of message that sends to our kids when a nation legalizes marijuana?
Should that message not be directed by the parents and not the government?
Should the same conversation a parent has about marijuana, be along the same lines as the much-needed conversation involving cigarettes, alcohol or prescription drugs in education and prevention?
Wherever one sits on the spectrum of cannabis acceptance, it is now here whether you like it or not.
As with anything that a nation finds legal, responsibility and moderation should be stressed for the liberty of everyone, as we as adults are free to choose the path we want to take as a cannabis-filled nation.