A Turbulent Transition
History has been made and Canada now has legal recreational cannabis available to all adults aged 19 and over. Uruguay was the first country to legalize cannabis back in 2013, but Canada is doing it bigger and better. At least that was the hope, but how has Canada handled this process?
Legalization took effect just over one month ago on October 17th, 2018. The transition has been a flawless and smooth ride (just kidding).
It has been messy, complicated, and a serious work in progress.
With supply shortages, too much packaging, delivery issues, and a lack of retail storefronts are just a few of the problems plaguing this newly implemented system. Across every province, the government has doing a poor job in one or more of these aforementioned categories. British Columbia has had decent supply, supplemented by a fantastic online delivery system, but were underprepared for demand as there was only one legal brick and mortar store in the entire province, located in Kamloops.
Since legalization I’ve been fortunate enough to experience first hand what legal cannabis entails across Canada. Through talking with locals and some tourists I have gained some insight into what successes and challenges consumers are experiencing within the inaugural months. Some of which are staff who relocated to Smith Falls, Ontario employed by the Tweed visitor centre, to consumers looking for products in empty Quebec cannabis stores.
One thing has been similar across the country: there is a lot of confusion and uncertainty, but there is also curiosity and interest. People want to learn about this previously banned substance and are willing to disregarded stigma but have yet to find the proper resources to answer their questions.
With plenty of positive and negative opinions forming, the people are expressing them nonetheless, which is a positive in itself and having conversations with those around them. There has already been a noticeable decrease in stigma surrounding cannabis, though is a work in progress. This change has had been interesting as people ranging from young adulthood to senior citizens are now interested in cannabis for medical and recreational reasons.
Since legalization, I’ve noticed an increasing amount of sampling. Many people, some of whom have never tried cannabis before, are now open to the idea of trying it. The legality of cannabis seems so arbitrary, but for many people this was a sticking point, and I do respect that. Thankfully decades of peaceful protesting has helped to overcome the legal prejudice against this plant.
There are also other peoples who haven’t consumed cannabis in years, for a variety of different reasons. Now these people are smoking cannabis for the first time in years or decades, as they are able to purchase, consume and possess a legal supply.This supply is far more varied and nuanced than most people may have realized. Some are dabbling with the high THC strains, but I’ve seen a diverse range of consumers smoking high CBD or balanced strains.
I have had conversations about cannabis with more people than I ever thought was possible during this last month. This snowball has only just started rolling down the hill and it’s just beginning to pick up size and speed quickly. While there have been and will continue to be bumps in the road, I emphasize that we must all view this as a work-in-progress. I urge everyone to keep taking about cannabis, as this will ensure that politicians respond to our voices and our votes and will continue to make improvements to our cannabis legislation along the way.
Thanks for reading!