When will Cannabis be Legal in Canada?
A common topic among the cannabis community as well as in opposition circles is the actual date that cannabis legalization will take effect. The pro-cannabis side argues that we have been waiting long enough, literately a lifetime, for the end to prohibition, so the sooner, the better. The opposing crowd make claims that provinces, municipalities and police forces couldn’t possibly be ready this summer to stop arresting cannabis users for a victimless ‘crime’. Let’s have a look at the arguments on both sides and explore which way might work best.
When cannabis legalization legislation was first announced by the Liberals and they were asked about a date, the answer was the goal was to be legal “by” July 1st, 2018. Media and others took this to mean ‘on’ July 1st. I am good either way, but the ‘anti’ crowd jumped on it right away and complained of tarnishing our country’s birthday with something as ugly as removing prohibition of a plant. Strangely, the most vocal opponent of using July 1st to implement the new laws was Bill Blair, the Liberals point man on legalization.
“I’m probably out on a limb on this one but … I don’t believe July 1 should be an implementation date for anything; it is a day of celebration for the anniversary and founding of our country.” said Blair, “I don’t think that’s an appropriate date. That’s my opinion.”
I think we might need to breakout the bullshit meter for this one. A quick 5 minute Google search revealed that July 1st is a popular date for implementing laws, legislation and changes to both. From anti-spam legislation and tax changes that became effective Canada Day, 2017 to the privacy act July 1 1983, to a ban on plastic microbeads effective July 1, 2018. Seems that date works just fine and is in fact not as sacred as they claim. A career cop who made his living putting cannabis users in cages, now gets to decide on a date based on his feelings. He has no issues with handing Canadians new taxes and laws on Canada Day, just granting adults the freedom to use a plant. I thought we were celebrating the “True North Strong and Free”? 53% of Canadians polled approved of July 1st, 2018 as a appropriate date to end prohibition. We’re not free till Uncle Bill says so, I guess.
One big concern was that cannabis users would somehow claim Canada Day for our new 420 celebration date and detract from celebrating our birthday. Here’s a cultural secret for those un-initiated: 420 celebrations happen on the 20th day of the 4th month, hence the name. These celebrations happen worldwide. Seeings as though 701 means nothing to cannabis smokers,anywhere, I’m pretty sure we’ll stick with April.
I’m not sure where any of these people have been for the last 50 years, but I have never met any cannabis smoker that refrains from partaking because it’s Canada Day, so what will change this year? Every town in every province from coast to coast to coast has a Canada celebration of some fashion and the vast majority include a beer garden as part of this ‘family’ event. I would wager a bet and say multiple police incidents related to alcohol use occur every year at these events. I would also go out on a limb and say there were zero calls for people impaired by cannabis fighting. To suggest that you are against cannabis while allowing your community to promote alcohol at a Canada Day event is ridiculous.
So now that we’ve learned there is no legitimate reason to eliminate July 1st as the date for legalization beyond Mr. Blair’s personal opposition, lets explore some other less controversial dates. By far the best choice for all concerned would be April 20th. Not only does this date have significance for cannabis users, it is already widely accepted as ‘our day’ and to my knowledge is not claimed by anyone else, so it shouldn’t bother the non-tokers.
The opposition to this date comes from provinces and municipalities and their police forces. Although evidence and statistics show that there was minimal negative impact on States like Colorado and Washington, these various levels of government are warning of near Armageddon. They have coerced the feds to provide millions in extra transfers to help with implementing legalization. They complain they cannot possibly be ready for legal cannabis by this summer and the Feds need to delay until an undisclosed date. Excuse me? Let’s fire up that bullshit meter again. Not ready…what is there to be ready for? Everyone who wants to use cannabis is already doing so and have been for a very long time. No one is waiting for Ottawa to give us permission. There will not be a sudden explosion of cannabis consumption just because it’s legal, there will not be an increase in cannabis-related traffic offenses and there will be no increased demand on police resources. Given that they cannot provide any factual evidence to validate their claims of impending mayhem, thus justifying a delay, their opinions must be deemed to be self-serving and not in the best interests of it’s citizens. Using April 20th as the day to end prohibition would gather huge international attention and kick off a flurry of like-moves by other countries. An April date would also allow time for people to cultivate an outdoor crop this year. With the Liberals focused on climate change and carbon tax, it makes sense to encourage folks to use the sun rather than electricity if they choose to grow.