Canada legalises weed. Interesting.
What’s that going to do to people, planet, profit, and prisons?
Actually legalising cannabis is a massive step. It’s comparable to legalising alcohol. Let”s have a little run through the possible consequences:
People will get high. To begin with, more people will probably get higher, as existing users celebrate the change, and new users dabble in it. Cannabis is often a fairly binary drug. People either get on with it and enjoy it and it becomes part of their lives, or they try it, it makes their head spin, they feel weird, they don’t enjoy it, they don’t bother with it again. In my opinion, medium and long term, legalising it won’t make that many more people use it. There may well be a genetic predication towards cannabis use, there is with alcohol, and tobacco has varying degrees of addictiveness according to individuals DNA.
Legalisation will probably increase the number of users over time. Legalisation takes it out of the sub culture and into the mainstream. Out of the hands of ‘drug dealers’ and into the retail space. This will create an economic boom in outlets selling it, delivery services, cafes, areas for use, even dual purpose experiences, cinemas and performance art where the audience is getting high whilst watching. It will get integrated into the arts, somehow, cannabis has an effect on creativity, it seems to heighten it in some individuals at times, so it’s going to be interesting to see how this is expressed culturally.
There will be much more subtlety in the types and strengthens of cannabis available. Illegal drugs tend towards ‘stronger is better.’ Even the recently criminalised ‘Spice’ has rocketed in strength since being made illegal. When it was sold in ‘head shops’ it was a legal high kind of buzz. Now illegal, it’s one of the most damaging and destructive drugs available. I digress. Consider alcohol. You can choose beers from zero to 15%, according to taste. Thousands of wines are available. Same with spirits. It’s about much more than the potency.
Importantly, it will stop thousands of people being criminalised. This is a major consideration. Making someone a criminal in cannabis possession can lead them to further, more diverse criminality. As well as deeply impacting their employment and future.
Legalisation is a bold move. Canada is culturally comparable to the UK, and US, and Europe. It’s highly unlikely in the EU, it would have to be a full member agreement, and the Mafias would not permit it. The powerful alcohol lobbies would also step all over it. But one wonders if it could ever happen in the UK. Never will a Conservative Government, maybe Labour.
A lot of people had to break the law a lot of times for the law itself to break. They got tried for the freedom to get high.