It’s a done deal! I believe the federal government made a mistake, not doing it in two steps: 1) Decriminalization (for at least two years), and 2) Legalization (only if the road seems clear).
Here are some points they should have considered before taking the “giant leap” in Canada: Medical experts say that the brains of young people are still developing up to the age of 26 and, if they are regular users of pot, their brains can be damaged. If the authorities think that making the legal age of 18 (21 in Quebec), will stop them from consuming the product, they are dreaming in technicolour! If government leaders think that legalizing marijuana will shut down the black market, well, I have some land in Florida I’d like to sell. (Where do they think the under-age smokers will get their weed?) How do governments expect to defeat the underground sellers if legal sellers have to pay overhead (rent, utilities, employees, EI, CPP, etc), then charge taxes to the customers? The “street” doesn’t have those up front expenses and will be able to undercut the “stores”. The black market, the underground, the unlicensed dealers will not go away. They will continue to exist.
It seems they haven’t figured out how to police offenders. Do they have all the personnel trained? Do they have the technology to test drivers to the point that they can convict impaired drivers? What about office workers, people in the transportation industry (taxis, bus drivers, pilots, truck drivers, etc), folks in the construction industry (planners, builders, etc)? Have they considered the extra staffing (ex: police, legal staffing, courts, judges, jails, social workers, etc)? If the volume of charges is excessive, can the courts keep up? Will cases get thrown out due to delays? There will likely be a lot of “wear & tear” on families, not to mention burn-outs among those in the policing industry.
I don’t see myself as an alarmist; rather, a pragmatist. Canada is travelling along a bumpy road. Had the government taken the two steps that I mentioned at the outset, there might not be the problems I foresee. I hope I am wrong.