Forty years ago I may have been more interested. Call it timing, or time of my life, but I really don’t care about the legalization of marijuana.
As of today, consumption and sale of pot is legal in Canada, the fulfillment of a 2015 election promise by now-prime minister Justin Trudeau.
It’s a pretty big thing to some people; they were lined up at stores in Newfoundland at midnight to be the first in the country to purchase the now-legal weed. Other people will wait until morning, or until they are of legal age. Some people won’t bother.
It’s a personal thing, like beer, wine or spirits.
It is also now, like beer, wine, and spirits, a taxable commodity (some may even call it a tax grab), promoted by governments as a move to kill the lucrative black market trade and take the drug out of the hands of organized crime. Governments claim control of the substance will also better keep it away from minors (a time when many of us were introduced to weed).
I grew up through the ’70s, reading about the power and pleasure of marijuana in the pages of Rolling Stone magazine, and listening to the comical side of the sub-culture on Cheech and Chong records. I don’t really remember the first time I smoked pot, and was essentially done with it all by the time I was in university (a time when many discovered bud time).
I do remember the last time I smoked a joint, years ago, as a totally pleasurable experience. I’m just not into it now. It’s a personal thing. I do believe part of attraction to pot was the fact that it was not legal; temptation never tastes as sweet as it does from a forbidden fruit.
There been a lot of talk, for years and of late, about the lessening dangers of marijuana. There has been a lot of talk about whether or not the dangers even existed.
While Studies have shown, apparently, that marijuana is not addictive, there will be those people with an addictive personality who will still ignore responsibilities, escape their reality, and even isolate themselves from friends and families.
Others will (continue to) use marijuana as a social drug, and enjoy a Saturday evening with a couple of friends and a few fingers of dope.
Governments are now, already, projecting the millions of dollars of revenue expected to flow into its coffers. History is rife with examples of how governments capitalize on vices. Sin taxes remain one of any governments greatest addiction.
We can only hope newfound revenue will find its way into drug education and treatment plans. In the days leading up to legalization, there certainly hasn’t been enough education on the facts and folly of a drug that was, just yesterday, considered contraband.
We can only hope the increased revenue will actually provide governments with funding to do something about society’s real problem drugs, like the opioid crisis and its increased body count.
© 2018 j.g. lewis