By Nick Barden
Marijuana. Cannabis. Pot. Weed. Whatever you like to call it. It’s finally legal in Canada.
It’s been two years since the Federal Government started working towards getting this done and they’ve finally made history. Canada is only the second country in the World to make pot legal, next to Uruguay.
According to a Deloitte report (an accounting organization), legalizing marijuana will create an industry worth over $4 billion in Canada.
Farrell Miller, a board member at NORML (National Organization of Reforming Marijuana Laws) thinks this will be a big step in the right direction for Canada. The estimated value of the legal cannabis market is over 7 billion dollars”, says Miller, “and that’s 7 billion dollars out of the hands of criminals and into the hands of small business owners”.
$4 Billion is a lot of money. However, that’s not the main reason why Canada is legalizing marijuana. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted, “Protection for our kids”. But how good of a job will the government do to protect “our kids”?
“My guess is pretty poorly out of gate being quite honest” says Bradley Poulos, a Cannabis business lecturer at Ryerson University, “Just like a 17-year-old can get a bottle of vodka if they really wanted on the weekend, I think were going to see the same thing with cannabis”.
All provinces and territories in Canada have different regulations on marijuana, including how old you have to be to smoke, where to buy it, whether or not you can grow your own, and where to smoke it.
Right now, in Ontario, you can smoke marijuana at 19 and you can buy it online. With just a few clicks you can get onto the website and start buying. With that being said, anyone can put in a fake age and get right on the website and buy marijuana.
It could lead to an open door for teens to buy marijuana, as well as get it shipped to their doorstep. If that happens, it could lead to a lot of teens smoking it. And if that’s the case, there could be a possibility for more issues in mental health.
“If young people use cannabis too excess, prior to age 25, there’s a good possibility you will develop mental problems of some sort”, says Poulos, “It’s really recommended that if people are under 25, that they curtail their use to some degree. That doesn’t mean not using the product at all, but it means not using it in any chronic fashion.”
But is the risk worth the reward? Poulos says yes, “Just like alcohol, just like tobacco, just like driving a car, all of those things have positives and negatives. I think on balance making cannabis available to Canadians was the right thing to do”.
However, we won’t know those opinions until they come clearer in the months to come.