The date is 17 October 2018, when the Government of Canada’s Bill C-45 receives Royal Ascent acceptance. We saw the decriminalization of the use, purchase, and growing of marijuana nationwide. However, much was left to the individual provinces to determine how they would manage and oversee the decriminalization process for their particular zone.
A large percentage of Canadians were now celebrating this new era of no longer hiding from the law to smoke a joint, walk around with pot in pocket, and purchase without repercussion.
Though it is undeniable that anyone who has struggled with an addiction can attest to the consequences of using drugs of whatever kind. Vested interest groups in our society have convinced enough people (through lobbying) to legalize marijuana. The facts remain that marijuana is a drug, and no one is denying this fact. What was being argued, which is the backbone of the law change, was the labelling of a person with criminal charges for possessing or smoking marijuana. This was considered to be way too excessive.
Marijuana and its active ingredient, THC, has also been the forerunner of addiction for many individuals to stronger drugs like cocaine, crack, opiates, hallucinogens, etc. Taking a quick look at the past five years of decriminalization, what are the results? One documented thing is that 1 in 10 adults will become addicted to its consumption. If started before age 18, this ratio becomes 1 in 6, something to consider.
In 2018-2019 there were 4.6 million Pot users ages 15 and older across Canada. This figure from Statistics Canada has risen to over 6.2 million in 2023. In terms of revenue, how does this tabulate? In 2023 the “recreational” revenue is expected to be 2.83 billion. In 2028 it is predicted to reach 5.93 billion. These figures do not include medical or therapeutic use.
With all the controversy about Marijuana in Canada, we tend to omit the real issues underlying it all, a philosophy that shaped our country. Marijuana has been shown to have certain medicinal benefits, as mentioned in journals and other publications. These boundaries of a “medical condition” or “therapy” are issues. The continued expanding number of diagnosed conditions for which marijuana is prescribed may shock you.
The real issue that should be understood is what makes something good or bad. Courts and governments need to weigh out the benefits and harm of marijuana, not only for a person but for all aspects of life. Anyone of us can ask the question, “Is marijuana beneficial?” and then weigh this question for yourself, then your family, kids, relatives, etc. Including your co-workers, employers, productivity gain or losses, and also for humanity in general. You can conclude it is bad if it causes more harm than good. Then act accordingly.
Once a drug is legalized, no matter how many rules you add to its legalization, it’s only a matter of time before it breaks society. And we all know the trouble our society has with alcohol. Is the question about marijuana really a question of whether it is legal or not, or is it more about benefits and harms?
Should marijuana use be permitted or treated? Just visit any of the hundreds of addiction treatment centers across Canada and talk to counsellors and recovering individuals. The answer to the question will become quite clear.