Taking the Cover off the Pot: The Legalization of Marijuana

After October 17th 2018, Canada will be forever changed.

Becoming the second country in the world to legalize marijuana in medical use, recreational use, and cultivation after Uruguay will place Canada under the spotlight. Societal norms will shift with the emergence of new laws, businesses and studies that revolve around the marijuana industry.

Aside from the obvious, that being that adults of the age of 19 and over will be able to buy, use, possess, and grow recreational marijuana, how will this change our nation?

To start, we could potentially see an economic boom. After Washington State and Colorado (the first US states) legalized back in 2012, a Huffington report from 2015 found that the Cannabis industry became the fastest growing industry in the United States. Its growth from 2013 to 2014 nearly doubled from $1.5 billion to $2.7 billion. As expected, the legalization of marijuana in Canada will hopefully stimulate the economy and create jobs.

Conflictingly, many predict that there will be an increase in minors using marijuana. However, after the legalization in Washington State and Colorado, statistics from Lift News showed a small decrease in minors using cannabis. Particularly in Washington State, 10th grade students showed a three percent drop amongst the population. This might be caused by the eventual disappearance of the black market for marijuana, and strict regulations to purchase which likely lead to the loss of previously existing stigma surrounding the use of the drug. One could say the use of marijuana will no longer be a normal rebellion of teenagers, instead it will become a norm for citizens.

Another potential major public safety concern is an increase in impaired driving. Unfortunately, along with the legalization in Colorado and Washington State there was an increase in the number of impaired driving incidents. Yet, only a 2.7 percent increase can be directed towards the legalization, as there was already increasing levels of impaired driving in relation to cannabis.

After October 17th, universities and colleges will implement health related programs about marijuana use, the Canada-U.S. border will become even more harrowing, and many activist groups will continue to fight for amnesty for pot possession prior to the legalization.

Canada is changing with the times, looking to regulate marijuana and maintain safety as a top priority. One thing is for sure, this irreversible social trend will most likely see increasing numbers of countries follow in the trailblazing steps taken by Canada.