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  • Writer's pictureKevin Lamport

Legal cannabis - in 1000 Words or Less

When it comes to our country, Canadians have many reasons to be proud. We’re surrounded by incredible beauty and abundant natural resources. Most people enjoy an adequate standard of living in generally safe, clean cities. We’re known around the world as tolerant, friendly people.

We all have our reasons to feel patriotic…

…perhaps even superior, especially when it comes to our southern neighbours. Admittedly, the Cheeto running the USA has made that easy over the last two years but who hasn’t watched Leno (or his ilk) ask Americans basic questions, and then sat a little straighter when we got the correct answer and they did not? Never mind the clip was edited, so we saw the most humorous responses.

We do like to compare and feel a little smug…but we need to keep that sanctimonious feeling in check.

On October 17th, everyone around the globe was given a new way to “know” Canada and it wasn’t something of which to be proud: The recreational use of marijuana became legal and from the video on TV showing people celebrating as ecstatically as if they’d just been released from a prison, to online photographs, to the headlines, the manner in which many Canadians carried on was downright embarrassing.

Leading up to October 17th, legalization was the only thing the Canadian media seemed interested in covering. A news junkie could be forgiven for not knowing a Saudi journalist was murdered in Istanbul, or a caravan of some 4000 Honduran migrants was marching toward the United States, or predator Paul Bernardo was rightfully denied bail. Twenty-four seven cannabis headlines were obviously more important.

Headlines outlining, “…what you need to know…” about legal cannabis.

Headlines detailing proper health care precautions. This may have been an article worth reading because some whack-a-doos seem to think “legal” means “safe”. Here’s a headline: If the purported medical benefits were that significant, big pharma would have bottled cannabis years ago. The dangers on the other hand are well documented, irrefutable and by the way, the same now as they were before legalization.

There were headlines informing travellers how to make their way through an airport, and this was definitely an article worth reading because, although we joined Uruguay as only the second country in the world to legalize cannabis, there’s a long list of countries who haven’t. If a person is caught with cannabis, these countries will happily hand out prison terms ranging from six years in Argentina to as many as twenty-five in Nigeria.

One good thing about all these cannabis headlines, I guess, is they gave us a thankful break from the cartoon networks south of the 49th (Teletoon, CNN, Fox News), and the laughable spectacle involving a porn star who’s more articulate than the buffoon who’s running their country. There’s no reason she shouldn’t be of course, but let’s face it, the Commander in Chief set the bar pretty low.

So there’s that.

Anyway, the law changed, and the headlines changed with it. Some were hilarious, like the one about a girl guide who sold out of cookies in a cannabis store lineup.

Some were frightening, like the one about the moron who, an hour into legalization, was ticketed for consuming cannabis in a motor vehicle on a highway.

And, perhaps my favourite was the one brought to us by the first Canadian to buy recreational marijuana legally, in which he stated, “…the stigma ends tonight.”

Wait! What?

There was a stigma? And, now there isn’t? And, this stigma had more to do with legalization than…I don’t know…avoiding work and getting stoned for medical reasons?

I didn’t know that. I guess all the headlines I was trying so hard to avoid were important.

Embarrassing, hilarious, frightening. At least when the media lost their shit, they were honest about it. Too bad the Canadian government couldn’t make the same claim.

The government justified legalization by framing it as a progressive and moralistic move: It would protect youth, reduce crime, and regulate an industry.

Give me a break.

Youth can get weed if they want it. When I was a kid, it was only as far away as the school bus, and yeah that was a long, long (sigh) time ago but given today’s proliferation of much harder narcotics, when it comes to accessibility, I don’t imagine much has changed.

Reducing crime is a laughable argument. When it comes to firearms, gangsters don’t apply for their Possession and Acquisition license before killing innocent people during drive by shootings. Similarly, people who sell weed won’t put their revenue stream on hold while they apply for the appropriate licenses. Neither will they voluntarily pay taxes on the income they make.

As for regulating an industry—there was no industry. Not unless illegal commerce is considered an industry.

Changing this law was done for reasons not even the best Liberal spin doctors can disguise with double-talk. It was done to increase money in the government coffers and it was done to keep civil servants employed. If those were the only two reasons, I don’t suppose I’d find the change embarrassing and objectionable…civil servants have mortgages to pay and children to feed and some of the money could potentially end up somewhere useful (health care or education), rather than the ravenous black-hole that is general revenue. Call me an optimist if you want.

It seems to me the number one reason for legalization is both simple and undeniable and is the reason the government needed television commercials to (lie) explain it: The inept man-child who “leads” this country has a habit of pandering to whatever group or special interest will garner him another vote (and hopefully a photo op), and he thinks legalization is one such issue. He changed a law for political gain and as a result…


…nothing much changed in the average Canadian’s life.

The government is a richer but since they’ll undoubtedly waste the money, that’s a wash.

Those people so inclined are still going to get baked in their basement while eating Doritos and binge watching every episode of The Expanse on SyFy.

And, the world has one more reason to snicker at us behind their hands.

I’ve never said, “a-boot” ever. Not once.

I don’t live in a country blanketed by ice and snow twelve months a year.

I don’t say, “Sorry,” every other sentence, even when I react impolitely to poor customer service.

I’d prefer we were known for something other than a cliché, something positive such as our role as peace-keepers in an increasingly unstable world, for example. A little smugness isn’t a bad thing. Let the world laugh at the spectacle in the south.

Next week…originality and Pulp Fiction. Honest.


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