Some years ago — perhaps decades, I don’t really remember — a former Parti Québécois government floated a trial balloon about legalizing marijuana in the province. It was just a statement, really, to the effect of “we would like to look into legalizing marijuana.”
The story goes that shortly thereafter, some party members received death threats from certain underworld criminal types, whose organization shall remain nameless here.
And the trial balloon floated away, and we didn’t hear anything more about the subject.
The possession and/or sale of marijuana is still illegal, except for medical pot, which is quite accessible for people with prescriptions.
But that is all about to change: Marijuana will be legalized for recreational use in Canada by the new Liberal government. Not all of the details have been worked out, such as whether the regulation and sale of pot will fall under federal or provincial jurisdiction.
But one thing is clear: it will generate tax revenue for provincial and federal governments.
And in theory, it will take control of the herb — marijuana is an herb despite its classification as a drug — away from organized crime and will make it more difficult for minors to get their hands on it.
I’m not convinced about the latter two points, though I suspect it will take some business away from organized crime. But I think there will still be a “black market” that will undercut the prices of commercial pot. And I think small-time pot growers will still operate their hydroponic farms and sell the stuff to their network of appreciative friends and, in turn, to their appreciate friends etc.
So police will still be making raids on illegal pot growers and sellers of other drugs; I don’t think legalization will take much burden off of them. They haven’t been busting individuals in possession of small quantities for a long time now.
There has been some talk that legalization would permit an individual to be in possession of one ounce at a time. But who will stop you from buying an ounce here, and an ounce there, and another ounce somewhere else, and before long you have a pound of the stuff tucked away in your cupboard at home — all purchased legally.
Or a pound purchased on the black market . . .
So I think it is a pipedream for officials to believe legalizing it will make pot more difficult for minors to get their hands on it. The people who sell it to them now will sell it to them afterward . . .
Not all provinces are happy with the idea of legalizing pot, including Quebec. The current Quebec government, a Liberal majority, is reportedly “alarmed” by the prospect, according to a Canadian Press article this week. “Public Security Minister Lise Thériault says questions of public safety are paramount and must prevail and that many parents share that same concern.”
Apparently, other Quebec Liberal “cabinet ministers didn’t hide their discomfort when asked … about the prospect of legalized pot in the near future.”
However, “Parti Québécois member Jean-François Lisée says legalization is long overdue, given that some U.S. states have already brought in the measure.”
Another article I read wondered if provinces would have the power to opt out of legalization. So, for example, it could be legal in Ontario, but not Quebec? That could lead to chaos . . .
Of course, one assumes the medical profession will have some input in all of this. The marijuana of today is far more potent than the stuff we smoked in the 1960s and ’70s. And inhaling the stuff is not exactly good for your lungs. Though, there are safer ways to ingest it . . .
I haven’t smoked pot since 2008. I used it for decades before that. I’m not sure if legalization now would entice me to consume it again — I would never smoke it again, but I might cook some and slurp it down with a spoonful of honey. But I enjoy having a clear head after all those foggy years. I never drink enough alcohol to get a buzz: I only drink a little wine at a time for the taste, yes, the taste. But pot is different: a few tokes, and you are buzzed.
Still, I’m with Monsieur Lisée on this issue: legalization is long overdue. It should never have been made illegal in the first place.
Now, with marijuana about to be legalized, how about LSD and mescaline? (winks)