Just one month ago, cannabis was legalized in Canada. Already feels like more than that doesn’t it? This article examines just how we’ve all been impacted by the legalization of cannabis, as well as how it as affected our society.
Benefits of Legalization So Far
It’s clear that marijuana prohibition had a lot of costs throughout the years. Tens of thousands of people were being arrested for marijuana offences each year, ripping communities and families apart as people were thrown in jail or prison. Enforcement of these laws also costed money, while instead now legalizing and taxing marijuana has already said to be bringing in a ton of extra revenue for all provinces.
Plus, with the legalization of marijuana, the black market has been put on ice in a major way. Legalization has shifted marijuana out of the illicit, potentially violent market, toward a legal one that can produce legitimate jobs and contribute to society in a positive way.
Risks of Legalization
Legalization has brought some problems too. The legalization of marijuana has made it easy for anyone, of age or not, to get cannabis products. Purchasing marijuana no longer requires a shady or secretive meeting with a drug dealer, making it more attractive for a larger part of the population.
And although marijuana isn’t very dangerous compared to some drugs, it does carry risks. For example, someone using marijuana can become dependent and/or overuse the product, as well as have accidents if used on the job.
A For-Profit System
So far, Canada is setting up pot like they did alcohol. They’re setting up the systems to allow a for-profit pot industry to flourish, like how the alcohol industry did back in the day. And, with this type industry setup, it’s not hard to imagine “Big Pot” having lobbyists soon on parliament hill someday soon. Because If marijuana companies can act like the tobacco and alcohol industries have in the past, there’s a good chance they’ll convince more Canadians to try or even regularly use marijuana, and some of the heaviest users may use more of the drug.
And as these companies increase their profits, they’ll be able to influence lawmakers in a way that could stifle regulations or other policies that curtail cannabis misuse. All of that will likely prove bad for public health (although likely not as bad as alcohol, since alcohol is simply more dangerous).
After only a month of marijuana legalization, it’s clear that this is a better approach compared to prohibition. However, that doesn’t mean that for-profit, private companies must be given free rein over the market. It’s just important that we stay vigilant and never let massive corporations take over this industry.