Well, I for one am I a happy smoker. On October 17th Canada officially became the second country on Earth to legalize recreational cannabis use. Maybe when Elon Musk visits the North someone can teach him that he needs to inhale. Jokes aside, I am pleased with this, though living in the province of Ontario there’s still some work to be done with the laws.
Now to explain what I mean briefly the recent political changes and how they’ve slowed down the process of making purchasing cannabis a painless process. The previous Liberal Government had planned to exclusively sell cannabis through a state-run company (or Crown Corporation) called the “Ontario Cannabis Store.” They had also planned to only have it be purchased via their online store until 2019 where they would then open only 40 brick and mortar stores to buy cannabis from and then trickle more stores in over the next few years.
Now, knowing the audience that frequents this site, I don’t think I need to explain why this would have been a horrible idea. State-run monopolies in Ontario artificially increase prices and are highly taxed on a whim. The Liberals were voted out in a deservingly embarrassing fashion earlier this year for a myriad of reasons and the new Conservative government has been working to allow much more privatization of Cannabis sales as well as other goods in Ontario that have long been locked down by old laws that don’t treat adults like adults. Although the laws that have come from the federal level are intrusive to a degree, I still consider nationwide legalization of cannabis a net win.
I have seen some arguments against legalization of cannabis, some solid, some utterly absurd. Neither argument to me gives enough reason for me to be against the legalization of a plant. The more solid argument against it is that it does allow the police to ID anyone seen smoking cannabis in public to assure that they purchased their product from a legal source. This is more of an Ontario due to us not having legal access to brick and mortar stores until April of 2019. The Conservative government has allowed private businesses to apply for a Cannabis license, and frankly, this is the way the Liberals should have set up Cannabis sales in Ontario in the first place. Now small business owners in this field get held back due to the incompetence of the previous government while the current one reworks the mess. The ID checking that police can now do makes them amateur pot verifiers until April 2019. By that point, there will be no real reason for people to continue use of their dealers. That, I’m glad about. I think all smokers reading this can agree, it was incredibly annoying to call your dealer, be told they’d arrive in an hour and then wait for 4 hours.
A few of the more frankly abysmal arguments against legalization come funnily enough from people who smoke A LOT of cannabis. I and the Journalism Director for Think Liberty Killian Hobbs know a lot of stoners who are against legalization because they can’t drive while smoking now because the police are looking for that more. I’m not kidding. It’s a sad state of affairs when people who smoke weed are sad that something that was illegal, driving while impaired, is still illegal. I’ve also seen people get upset because they no longer feel confident driving with cannabis in their car within reach, something that is also now illegal and comes with a hefty ticket. To be honest, people need to learn how to take the W on this one. It’s better to get a ticket for being too lazy to stick your pot in the back pocket of your driver’s seat as opposed to getting booked for possession. I’m not a fan of giving police or any other government entity more power to search citizens, but at the same time legalization is a net win. In most of the country, dispensaries will no longer be raided and people won’t get criminal records for having something less harmful than cigarettes or alcohol on their person. This doesn’t mean we kick our feet up and call it a day. We still have to push the government to make cannabis laws less intrusive to the everyday Canadian. For now, though I think we can see that cannabis laws in Canada have made a historic change for the better and continue on that path.
You can read more from Malcolm Ault on Think Liberty here.