When was the last time you had a clandestine meetup with a moonshiner to buy some illegal alcohol?

I bet most of you would say “never.”

No doubt, many have been given a bottle or two of wine or beer made legally by a friend. But the days of buying booze on the sly have long since faded since Prohibition ended, though there is no doubt some bars and restaurants are buying alcohol through illegal channels.

But you, as a consumer, don’t have to meet somebody in an alley or shopping mall parking lot to score a bottle of wine. You can buy it openly, with dignity intact, in any number of retail outlets.

Not so if you want to buy some recreational cannabis in most places around the world. Secrecy is key, from placing your order to the actual exchange of cash for weed, always looking over your shoulder. Are the police listening in on your phone calls? Are they monitoring your text messages? Will your code words fool them? Is your dealer being watched? Is he or she encroaching on some other dealer’s territory, and might you get caught in the crossfire of a hail of bullets when you go to pick up your weed? Will your image be captured by video surveillance when you do the exchange? Is the weed tainted by mold or chemicals? Is it potent? Is it the correct weight? Etc.

Yes, there are myriad hassles — and risks — involved with scoring some pot on the black market, if you have a contact in the first place. And you’re never really sure about what you are getting in terms of quality and quantity. All pot users have bought some weed that didn’t live up to its billing. What are they going to do about it — file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau?

That’s all about to change in Canada, as it has in several U.S. states with the long-overdue legalization of recreational cannabis. People will no longer have to go into stealth mode to buy pot. They can or will, like alcohol consumers, be able to buy it in any number of retail outlets. They will know what they are buying, and will be sure it is not tainted.

And the black market, in time, will all but fade away, contrary to what many are saying now in Canada on the eve of legalization.

Conservative senators opposed to legalization say the black market will continue to thrive, citing absurd hypothetical situations. By trying to derail legalization, they are, in fact, showing support for the black market. They would prefer you go into stealth mode to buy your pot, if you insist upon consuming it. One wonders who they are really working for sometimes. Do they really think they can eradicate the consumption of weed by keeping it illegal? Or is there something more sinister going on? Is there a conspiracy?

But I digress.

Fearless prediction: the black market will largely fade away in relatively short order after legalization, though some will still grow it and sell it to teens. And they will get busted, until finally the only weed teens will be buying will be the legal variety sold to them by adults who bought it at a retail outlet.

Adult consumers will be thrilled with the variety of weed being offered in retail outlets, and with the fact that they no longer have to sneak around. They will be able to buy in smaller quantities — say, a few grams of this, a few grams of that. Most important of all, they can shop with their dignity intact.

So why then, when cannabis is legalized, would adults continue to face all the hassles and risks of buying it on the black market? To save a few bucks? First thought, as an adult: If I get busted buying it illegally, I’m going to lose a lot of money in legal fees and/or fines. And I can’t be sure of the quality or quantity, can I? Hey, I’ll pay the extra bucks (actually, I don’t smoke it anymore, but will use some of the herb in various edibles).

The black market’s days are very limited for recreational cannabis in Canada.

It’s long overdue.

The government owes the cannabis-using public an apology for decades of oppression and persecution.

Cannabis is an herb that should never have been banned, as in: “And God gave unto man every herb bearing seed.”


— Jillian