Hurry Up and Wait – Canada’s Marijuana Legislation

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It’s true that a watched pot never boils, and the phrase couldn’t be more apt when referring to the Trudeau Government, and their timeline for the legalization of pot.

The Prime Minister has made steps forward by announcing a task force to gather research, setting up a portal to hear Canadians thoughts on the issue, and even amending the old law so MMJ patients can grow their own. This has not stopped critics from condemning his silence on how it all may be executed in the Spring of 2017.

Because the federal government is clearly not talking, the only way to speculate on what might happen would be to look at the polls that tell us what Canadians want out of their legalized cannabis industry.

A recent poll was done by the Canadian research company Insights West, who surveyed 1,033 Canadians about marijuana. At the very least, the poll shows that Canadians approve of Trudeau legalizing, as sixty-two percent said they supported the legislation.

Not surprisingly, the people surveyed who had tried marijuana or who smoke it regularly were ninety-four percent in favour of legalization in some form. Eighteen percent want decriminalization of pot and nothing more.

In what seemingly proves that legal marijuana does not lead to mass consumption by those who have never tried it, only nine percent of Canadians who have never had cannabis said they would try it once it is legal.

“The data suggests that Canadians who have not tried marijuana will not suddenly become interested in it if it is legalized,” says Mario Canseco, Vice President, Public Affairs, at Insights West. “We saw a similar situation in Washington State, where only one-in-twenty adults tried marijuana for the first time after Initiative 502 came into law.”

Also in the poll, there is a positive outlook for Canada’s dispensaries, who are struggling for legitimacy in the new marketplace. It shows that thirty-six percent of Canadians want stand-alone facilities to be where we get our ganja. That’s in the number one spot, closely followed by twenty-nine percent favouring pharmacies and sixteen percent choosing liquor stores.

Aside from polling to get the answers we seek, the provincial and municipal governments across the nation have been forced to address marijuana legislation on the ground, while Trudeau makes up his mind. This has led to a patchwork of local municipalities regulating dispensaries that are illegal in the eyes of the federal government.

Some local municipalities like Victoria B.C. have been progressive on the issue and come up with legislation to allow these businesses to exist under specific guidelines.  In other cities, however, for example Toronto, City Hall and law enforcement, have seemingly enacted a draconian outlook where raids and arrests are as abundant as donuts and coffee in Canada’s largest city.

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Kathleen Ganley / Courtesy of Edmonton Journal

In order to find out how it should be done in the Province of Alberta, this week the Justice Minister, Kathleen Ganley will be traveling to Colorado to meet with our American friends and get some pointers. Some of the official meetings on the docket will include the Attorney General, the City of Denver, Denver Police, Fire Services and building/licensing experts.

“It’s vital for our government to be prepared and educated on the issue of legalizing marijuana and we’re eager to hear from experts in this field. We want to learn from Colorado’s experiences and any challenges regarding the process of legalization,” she said in a statement to the media.

Perhaps as time inches closer to legalization, Trudeau will show some of his cards and Canadians can get a better understanding of what’s to come. In the meantime, we’ll just have to hurry up and wait.

Cover Image Courtesy of YouTube

About Author

Jonathan Hiltz has been a journalist, a TV producer and marijuana advocate for over sixteen years. He has a wife, two young children and lives in the Toronto area.

1 Comment

  1. It’s funny how perceptions vary, for example:

    [http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/british-columbia/medical-marijuana-users-ask-liberals-to-cut-costs-update-status/article32450568/ ]
    G&M: Medical marijuana users ask Liberals to cut costs, update status (2016-Oct-19)

    Hummm… Anyway, a “better understanding of what’s to come”, for real?…

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