When will cannabis be legal in Canada?
It’s a question many Canadians are asking after the passage of the Cannabis Act in late June. Prime Minister Trudeau quickly addressed the question, telling Canadians across the country that legalization will take place on October 17, 2018.
While the cannabis industry and provincial governments in Canada have been taking steps to prepare for this rapid implementation, many people still wonder if Canada is truly ready for legalization.
The Legalization of Cannabis Will Impact Many Industries
The most obvious player in cannabis legalization is the cannabis industry itself. While medical cannabis has been legal for many years, the licensed producers, distributors, and other companies involved have been gearing up for the addition of the recreational market.
Of course, the cannabis industry isn’t the only player that’s going to be affected by the legalization of cannabis. Law enforcement will need to adapt. Police forces across the country have already been training to deal with drivers who are under the influence of cannabis. Limits on personal possession of products and plants will also need to be enforced.
The insurance industry must prepare for new claims. With the legalization of recreational cannabis, everything from driving to smoke damage in houses will be up for discussion. Insurance companies will want to revise their policies regarding car accidents and drivers under the influence of cannabis. Concerns about smoking and growing cannabis indoors will also need to be factored into house insurance policies.
Cannabis in Schools and Workplaces
Employers have also been keeping a close eye on the legalization of cannabis. Many are concerned about how they can deal with employees who arrive to work under the influence of cannabis or those who decide to use cannabis while at work or on company property.
It’s important to note here that employers have a duty to accommodate medical marijuana patients, but not individuals who are using cannabis recreationally.
Many parents and educators are concerned about potential access to cannabis by children and teenagers. While the Cannabis Act prohibits selling marijuana to minors, there’s still a concern it will still end up in the hands and backpacks of children. Many are calling for more educational efforts for users, parents, teachers, and children alike.
The Medical and Pharmaceutical Industry
The medical industry has been using medical cannabis since the early 2000s, but it’s only recently that research has begun to demonstrate some higher-quality results. Medical cannabis is gaining popularity, however, and it’s already impacting the medical field.
The pharmaceutical industry has also shown interest in cannabis, although its involvement has primarily been on the medicinal side of things. Nonetheless, the legalization of cannabis in Canada could spur a flurry of over-the-counter wellness products.
A Social Shift
Perhaps the largest impact will be the social shift as cannabis becomes legal in Canada. The use of cannabis has been illegal for generations now, and many people hold negative opinions about cannabis and the people who use it.
This social shift won’t happen overnight, but over time, social attitudes may change so that the use of cannabis is viewed as more acceptable.
This shifting social attitude has pros and cons. One of the upsides to it is that medical marijuana patients may enjoy easier access to a potentially beneficial treatment. Current attitudes about cannabis can prevent people from accessing cannabis or even discourage them from using it although they could potentially benefit from it.
The introduction of the Cannabis Act is a major change, and Canada hardly seems ready to face the adjustments that come with it. In the months leading up to the legalization of cannabis, many industries will make great strides to be as prepared as possible.