With dread, elation or a shrug of the shoulders, marijuana is now legal.
We’ve all spent a long time debating the merits of removing criminal prohibition of the narcotic substance, hypothesized about the effects on society, and tried to imagine what the brand new industry would look like.
As a society, we’ve come to few standard conclusions, beyond the often repeated phrases “we’ll have to wait and see” or “not enough is known.”
Many see ruination, a surrender of community standards and the loss of youth to mind-altering substances.
Others feel the drug has been so commonly available for years, that the effects after so-called “Weed Wednesday” will be negligible.
For others, it’s a panacea, or at least a victory for the average smoker, and the first ever, really.
There are advocates on both sides with strongly held beliefs, deeply entrenched positions from which they will not be moved.
It sounds a lot like any other issue facing society today and, as such, moving to an actual result has been a messy process and maddening public conversation.
Public safety, crime prevention, free enterprise, provincial monopolies, distances from doorways, second-hand smoke, workplace rules, long-term effects, border rules, CBD vs. THC, medicinal vs. recreational, zoning applications, brain health, roadside testing, revenue sharing, and on and on.
There are so many facets, so many arguments and counter arguments that it’s left so many heads spinning.
A more recent stance in the public has been that people are simply sick of hearing about it.
The federal Liberals made it a 2015 election promise.
They’ve carried through with it, rightly or wrongly, and won the prize of being criticized from all corners on the file, which was likely unavoidable.
Where the needle falls among the middle of Canadian voters remains to be seen.
For some, however, the current state is too relaxed; for others, including a number of libertarians who identify most with the Conservative party, it’s too tightly controlled.
That shows the eclectic nature of the pot-smoking community.
It’s not just deadbeats, high school rebels and ne’er-do-wells. Actual respectful prominent people in our communities smoke marijuana.
That’s not to say it can’t be harmful, or that substance abuse isn’t a serious issue.
Staunch advocates say it’s not addictive, but they (and, likely, we all) know someone at some point who smokes too much pot for their own good.
Smoking marijuana is most definitely harmful for lung health. It’s foolish to think otherwise.
Many argue pot isn’t as harmful as alcohol, but beyond that blanket statement, it’s hard to prove, and harder to convince a population that’s comfortable with beer and wine.
But politics in 2018 is about how people feel, not about how people feel about the facts, or even about the facts themselves.
To be honest, the main statement in opposition is that there are not enough facts or “not enough is known,” about marijuana legalization.
That might be true, but that statement goes along with “more study needed” as the standard go-to argument for stalling into submission any issue debated in the political sphere today.
Using the tactic for marijuana, which certainly isn’t new on the scene, really speaks to how hyper-political the issue has been in the past.
Are we really to believe not one drug company, one government, one academic institution or health-care provider or foundation in the entire world in the last century has been curious enough to launch a long-term scientific study?
Similar hogwash is the notion that marijuana will cure an ever-increasing, almost endless, list of ailments.
It’s not the end-all for personal health, personal liberty, personal enlightenment or the economy.
It’s a plant that can get you high, can help with some medical issues, and Canada’s grand experiment will make some people some, or a lot, of money.
But, make up your own mind.