Scanning the history of government in this country in relation to marijuana laws reveals a quirky turn of events. With the use of the drug as a medicine becoming more firmly established, the current government – Conservative at that – is busy setting up the business and production side of things.
As some have noted, this advent of large-scale, free-market marijuana production under the auspices of government comes just after Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau suggested it’s time to legalize pot for recreational use.
We’ve come a long way since radical hippies were advocating the same thing 45 years ago. Attitudes do change – although champions of the herb probably shouldn’t hold their breath waiting on legal sales for all Canadians, sick or healthy.
But then again, as the federal government gets a whiff of the revenues available from the pharmaceutical side – a $1.3 billion market – they will doubtless give it more thought.
This move toward licensing larger, certified marijuana farms and eliminating the small growers will receive some criticism, but also applause from those weary of having a grower next door to them.
The medical use is growing by leaps and bounds. There are currently 37,400 licensed users, a number expected to grow to 450,000 users by 2024. Imagine that, one person in fewer than 100 legally entitled to use marijuana for conditions ranging from chronic pain to alleviating nausea related to cancer.
Such relatively widespread use for “legitimate” reasons, along with continued illegal use despite laws, will continue to shift attitudes. Politicians less enlightened than Trudeau will grasp the concept that legalization, along with the benefit of revenues, is preferable to leaving the trade in the hands of criminal gangs.
But in the meantime, more medical research should be done with the aim of isolating the compounds with reputed medicinal benefits. Not everyone wants to stay continuously buzzed even if they are managing their pain.