October 17, 2018: More questions than Answers

The starting date for Canada’s big weed legalization has come and gone, and has drawn the attention of the world.
Granted, while marijuana is not making its initial appearance in Canada, it is just that any Canadian who smokes pot no longer risks spending time in jail.
Are we ready? In fact, are governments, police departments, suppliers and growers ready for the next few weeks and months?
My response is no, and it is this negative response that augurs for a very interesting period to come.
The Liberal government was asked by members of the Senate’s Aboriginal Committee to
delay the legalizing of cannabis for up to a year, primarily to address the potentially detrimental effects in Indigenous communities.
Liberal Senator for Saskatchewan, Lilian Dyck, stated in the report, Bill C45, that the government failed to adequately consult with First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities before pushing ahead with its plan to legalize the drug. According to her, “Many communities are really worried about the potential adverse effects on their members, and especially on their youth, and it may be even worse because of the trauma in their communities,” Dyck said. She further asserts that existing social issues in Indigenous communities could be made worse by increased drug use. In addition, the Aboriginal Peoples Committee discovered that there is no “culturally appropriate” educational material ready to ensure  that the Indigenous people fully understand the new law — which will legalize the drug, lead to the creation of provincially-run retail distribution systems and allow for home cultivation, among other sweeping changes to the country’s drug laws.
So it is blatantly obvious that there’s still a growing number of questions about cannabis use that still remain to be answered.
The point in question being that while the online aspect of legalization appears to be running on schedule, how prepared and ready are the provincial and private retailers to sell the item on the very first day that legal weed is available on the market?
Viewed from the standpoint of the long arm of the law, are they going to find themselves transforming into the modern cannabis equivalent of Appalachian “revenuers” on the hunt for weed that is illegal merely because the right taxes have not been paid?
Will police forces be able to effectively deal with drugged drivers, with their training still not fully complete, and many police forces still without roadside drug testing equipment?
One has to concede that weed detection warrants inspection, and as we speak it is already an almost unattainable task for police officers to handle the growing scourge of illegal cellphone use/texting by drivers.
What about the weed producers? Are they going to run short as they increase production to meet booming demand? How are human relations and personnel departments going to deal with staff using, even abusing, a now legal product? And who will ensure that patient care is not compromised by “weeded” personnel?
Will current users who purchase their weed on the black market transfer to making legal purchases, or would it be easier for illegal dealers to remain in business, even in the face of competition from the government?
All in all, cannabis products have been available for years with the ease of post office delivery and basically no law enforcement whatsoever. However, let us not forget or overlook the fact that that governments often take fast action, at close to legislative lightning speed, when they feel or suspect that something is threatening a tax stream.
What has surprised me in this quasi-apocalyptic mess is the manner in which the entire process has steadily steamrollered forward despite the major and obvious hiccups and pitfalls, while less controversial issues that also affect the nation have run aground on much smaller sandbanks.
By such, I mean the concept that individuals who purchase and store deadly weapons should have to register them with the government – even though practically no one bats an eye at the need to have license plates on their car, which was a dissentious enough issue to help overthrow a federal government.
The legalization of marijuana, on the other hand, creates headlines only when there are practical issues that still need to be addressed. It is apparent that we are well past the point where overarching philosophical issues questioning legalization as a whole are even being addressed.  And that has not happened with, say, gun registration, even though the ‘long gun’ registry is long gone since April 5, 2012. Anytime the word registration is raised in any form, there’s almost immediate opposition.
Are we approaching an imminent Weed Apocalypse?
Nevertheless, as is the case with all incomplete plans, there will be a lot of changes, ranging from provincial legislation to federal legislation to municipal bylaws.
Cannabis legalization remains very much a work in progress, a work which will continue well after last Wednesday’s big legal smoke up.
Hopefully brains can deflect the strain, while without fail saner minds prevail.
Aleuta—The struggle continues.