Smoking, possessing, and growing cannabis will no longer be a criminal offense across the nation of Canada thanks to the approval of a legalization bill by the Senate this past Tuesday. The bill passed with a vote of 52-29. As of today, the bill has been given royal assent, the final step in the Canadian legislative process. While it is officially passed, the law does not take effect until October 17th so don’t become careless and be aware you can still be charged with a crime. The regulation of cannabis will be done in a much different way then it has been done in individual U.S. states. One of these differences is the minimum age required to legally consume and purchase the plant. The federal government has set the age at 18, but provinces can set some of their own unique rules and many are expected to add another year to that federal requirement. Canadian officials argue that setting the age too high will encourage many young adults who will use cannabis regardless to seek out their weed from the black market. Youth consumption rates in Canda are among the highest in the world, and they believe that setting a similar age to the states will only encourage criminal organizations.
When it comes to possession limits the maximum amount a person can possess is 30 grams. While an oz is a decent amount for personal use, setting magical limits is kind of a ridiculous practice. You aren’t allowed to only have 30 cans of beer per person. Every state so far has also set their own unique limits in the U.S. The cool thing about the legislation in Canada is there is no possession limit within a private dwelling. This is a key addition to the law because growing the 4 allowed plants will provide much more than 30 grams of usable cannabis and that’s not taking into consideration leftovers from the last harvest.
Another aspect of the law that makes it unique is the idea of mail order weed. This is already a practice in the medical marijuana industry for registered patients. Soon it will become available for recreational users as well. To protect against youth accessing marijuana, it will not be delivered unless someone is home and able to show I.D. for the package. There aren’t any specific details regarding how much can be ordered at a time but it can be assumed that it’s the possession limit of 30 grams. It will be interesting to see how popular this method of purchase will become in comparison to the retail shops that will also be dispensing marijuana. The convenience of a quick delivery could cause the same problems Amazon has caused for retail shopping giants.
Altogether the Parliment did a good job drafting a well thought out piece of legislation. They thought about many different factors when drafting the rules with the main one being protecting the youth. Limiting advertising and lowering the legal age of consumption are just two of the steps they have taken to eliminate the damage from years of prohibition. The only thing that wasn’t mentioned in the bill that I would have liked to see included would be the expungement of records for those previously convicted of cannabis possession or cultivation crimes. This will likely be something that happens in the future after the law takes effect but it is a crucial step nonetheless.
The monetary value of cannabis is obviously going to depend on the location at which it is produced and subsequently sold. Ten years ago the price of cannabis was still location dependent, but now legalization in select states has had a unique impact on the prices of pot products. In states where it is recreationally or medically legal, the value of bud grown from local growers is lower then it ever has been. This is because they need to undercut the legally operating dispensaries in order to remain in business. The addition of legal suppliers along with the original black market growers means supply is growing. While demand remains as high as it always has been, the expanding number of suppliers will continue to lower weed’s value. For those states that have not experienced recreational or medical dispensaries, there has been little to no impact. A lot of the marijuana that is grown in legal states by caregivers or individuals is being transported to these states in order to maximize profits. For example, a top-shelf $1800 pound in a state like California can easily be resold for $3000-4000 in places like New York or Florida. That discrepancy is only for wholesale prices. If it were broken down into smaller quantities, the difference in value would become much more apparent.
Many growers like myself are hoping that the demand for high-quality craft cannabis will survive the transition to commercially grown weed. It’s not going to be feasible to give 5,000 plants the individual attention they need in order to maximize potency and flavor. Small-time growers have much more control over the environment and are better able to prevent insect outbreaks and nutrient deficiencies. On top of that, many of the people entering the industry have the required financial investment but no previous experience in the illegal culture. Those who have been operating in the shadows for years and dominating the market will always have the obvious advantage of experience.
The one that will benefit most from the legalization movement will 100% be the consumers. Outside of being protected from prosecution, they now have the ability to produce their own marijuana or purchase cannabis from a variety of suppliers at a cheaper price. While the price of legal cannabis is sometimes cheaper then what consumers were paying during prohibition, high-quality buds still sell for a premium. That provides an opportunity for black market growers to re-claim the connoisseur market. For now, they are still able to attract customers because they can compete with prices and taxes being charged at retail locations. Those new to cannabis and those unable to identify characteristics of a desirable strain will be attracted to dispensaries. Lacking connections among local growers means they will pay whatever their local shop charges.
The immediate impact on legal prices of marijuana will be undesirable. When Washington opened its doors to anyone over the age of 21, they were charging over $30 a gram. Those prices are unheard of by those who have been purchasing weed for any amount of time. Despite the price, the lines stretched long and far the first few weeks of legal sales. The new feeling of walking into a nice shiny retail location is priceless for some it seems. Being able to participate in that moment of history after 70 years of prohibition, is what drove people to wait in line and pay high prices. I would love to take a survey amongst cannabis consumers in states with dispensaries and ask them whether their source is a retail location or local grower/distributor. Black markets certainly still exist, but it would be great to understand the exact magnitude legalization has had on the cannabis community.
There seems to be a never-ending list of absurd reasons police and other professions benefitting from the prohibition of marijuana have used to argue against legalization. The latest comes from a K-9 handler from Illinois, who claimed that dogs currently being used to detect controlled substances would most likely have to be killed. The fact that current dogs can’t be untrained from detecting the odor of cannabis, doesn’t mean they couldn’t be repurposed within the same department. Many of these same dogs have already been trained to track down fleeing suspects and could also be used as a threat to criminals hiding in an enclosed space. Those types of scenarios are routine and seem to happen in every episode of Cops. While the local police departments would have to procure and train new drug-sniffing dogs for roadside traffic stops, saying euthanization is the likely future for many pups is a desperate scare tactic. The center of drug investigations in states with prohibition including Illinois has always been marijuana. These departments have a ton to lose when it comes to funding, staffing, and most importantly, probable cause. Cannabis has a pungent odor that is the most recognizable among recreational drugs. This has been used as an excuse to search and arrest countless people for offenses including cannabis but often additional, more serious crimes.
I would like to believe that not all police officers are for the prohibition of cannabis and would enjoy not having to arrest people for simple possession. This individual officer ( Macon County Sherrif Buffett) was not part of this minority. He simply knows that the past few years have shown great legislative progress across the nation pertaining to legal cannabis. The public approval of recreational marijuana has been rising among polls steadily each year and is now said to lie slightly above the 60% mark nationwide. Desperate times call for desperate measures and in his eyes, this was the last resort speech he needed in order to support the growing problem of mass incarceration. K-9’s were put on the force to be trained and help fight the failed war on drugs. It’s not the community’s problem that there will be a surplus of dogs that shouldn’t have been used in the first place. If they can’t be reassigned as mentioned earlier, they could be adopted by gradually removing them from the working environment. Handlers already live with their dog outside of work hours, so there is no reason they couldn’t adjust to being there all day long.
The impact these type of nonsensical statements have on the public is often opposite from the original intent of the message. Many more people start to question the true purpose of the anti-pot stance and see right through the distraction and follow the money. Few still believe the illusion that the government is looking out for your health and the well-being of communities by outlawing plants, but they’re out there. Opponents like Buffett are simply putting themselves on the wrong side of history before it is written. Not many people have a positive outlook on Harry Anslinger from the 1930’s or anyone else that put profits over doing the right thing. The fact that the war on drugs got so out of control and drug squads grew into a local military force, isn’t a reason to keep unnecessary jobs employed. There are many professions that have been wiped out due to their inability to adapt to change(political or technological) and law enforcement should be expected to do the same.
The President of Mexico, Enrique Peña on Monday had made a decree stating that cannabis is now legal to use for medical purposes in the country. It’s surprising, and this seems to be the opposite approach to what he has had in the past. This comes after a landslide victory for the same bill in April of this year in the lower house in parliament and this momentum seems to have something to do with the president taking action.
Products made and sold will have to contain less than 1% THC or lower currently. However cannabis cultivation of the whole plant for scientific or medical purposes will not be a punishable crime. Which is very important language luckily that was added to the proposal. I hope in the future both raw cannabis and extracts with high percentages of THC and CBD are available by purchase like we have in the states so they also can have safe reliable access. Within the next couple weeks the Health Ministry will be establishing guidelines and regulations for this brand new medical marijuana movement.
Like anywhere Mexico has plenty of people suffering from a number of severe and minor aliments that could be treated by this plant. Many of these conditions need all the chemicals that the entire natural plant produces and this most definitely includes THC. To try and reduce the amount of this important chemical is almost defeating the point of using the medicine in the first place. Yet, this is still an important move because it is a clear signal from the government that the people and legislature can’t be ignored for long. As we hear more about exactly what patients are allowed to possess and their rights, we’ll get a better idea on how Mexico plans to treat the thousands of suffering people who are looking for a natural alternative to harmful medications.
Although it was November 8th of this year when Massachusetts voted to eliminate penalties for personal consumption and cultivation of marijuana, the law officially takes effect today. For legal sales, the soonest we’ll see stores opening is not until January of 2018 however. This is huge as Massachusetts is the first state on the east coast to implement a law like this. Maine also passed the ballot measure to legalize marijuana but it hasn’t taken effect yet. Keep in mind, these two states are very far away from the next closest recreational state of Colorado. This is definitely a victory worth celebrating and is the best example of an effective drug policy outside the western coastal area.
So what can the people of Massachusetts do exactly without going to prison or facing fines? What they should have always been able to do, cultivate and bring up to an oz of buds with them on their person. At home, the rule is 6 plants per person and total of 12 per household. You can also have up to 10 ounces kept at home. Prices at the recreational shops are sure to be ridiculously high when first starting out, so make sure to start your grow now and save some serious cash come 2018. Tax rates in the state are supposed to be low in comparison to other states like Colorado, Washington, and Oregon but the law of supply and demand the first opening months will guarantee some pricey buds.
For those of us that can’t grow because they don’t have the resources, knowledge, or time to put into an operation, there are no new options for obtaining cannabis. It’s illegal for people to sell and advertise on Craigslist and other sites so still go to your connection that you used before it became legal. There is no real legal way to purchase weed it’s suppose to just appear from nothing.(wouldn’t be so bad) Sticking to this method will not put the consumer at any additional risk instead of going to someone new who is openly advertising illegally. There have been plenty of cases on the news of police operations based on this idea in other states. This is a huge moment in history for personal freedom and I am just smiling thinking about the real crime that will be stopped, and the innocent lives that will be saved from the permanent damage of a criminal record. As long as you remember not to use in public or surpass the limits allowed, you can sleep at night knowing you’re no longer considered a criminal.