We are currently in an incarnation of the Prohibition Act in Canada – this time its weed.
It was bound to happen, and it’s unfolding in the second largest country on the planet. A peacekeeping, compassionate and apologetic nation who is the custodian to a quiet hip quotient. Hosts to the largest Gay Pride Parade in the world and home to the best ice wines on the planet. With allegiance to Stompin’ Tom Connors, it’s poetic this industrialized nation whose population boasts a hockey stick in their DNA would look at legalizing weed. Maybe even logical.
Knowing how ‘chills’ Canadians can be, I suspect the legalization of pot will be very much like another opening of a Tim Horton’s. Our beloved rustic drug depot with whom we are having a love affair. Copious amounts of sugar and caffeine masked as coffee and donuts. A mini confetti cannon from a local Dollar Store spews one small exhausted gust as the first double/double is served. Or in this new climate a potential herb-infused maple donut.
The Canada Temperance Act of 1863, whose passage was also called the ‘Dunkin Act,’ is strangely foreshadowing of what is about to unfold. With Dunkin’ edibles, the varieties will be as extensive as the strains of cannabis soon to hit the market. I’ll expect that we’ll see some pure maple infused syrup and some chillin’ ice wines. Food will become the new frontier for this herb to have a standing ovation. To keep everyone happy, none will be available at the airport souvenir store.
The skunky bouquet of cannabis will be wafting through the air of Canadian cities similar to how Patchouli oil became the signature scent in the sixties. Weed will be the new American cigarette. Albeit a different type of tobacco, it possesses its own uniquely recognizable smell. Unlike Camel cigarettes, whose campaign was that one would “walk a mile for a camel.” There are those that will walk a lot further for some kush. Parks Canada is permitting pot smoking on campsites. I thought the goal was to eliminate forest fires. Add to that being in a mindset of wanting to kiss wildlife like maybe a bear, has me scratching my head. Even Smokey the Bear has acquired a new makeover in this climate.
During the sixties, Mary Jane was already ingrained in our culture. The hippies and beatniks smoked marijuana while chanting a mantra of ‘make love, not war.’ They had it right. Prophetic back then and equally compelling today. Obama admitted to using it as did a host of others. Those that didn’t confess to its use did so because their perception was conflicting with what stood as the collective agreement around this contentious herb at the time. That comprehension has now shifted in Canada. Licenses to grow cannabis now comprised of corporate Boards boasting former Chiefs of Police and politicians pursuing distribution channels, so profits can be realized. Legalization will necessitate its governance in a way that is safe while generating revenue for the government to pay down our debt. At least that is my hope.
Many of those who already use it do so legally and for medicinal purposes. Gone are the days of Reefer Madness. This tax paying and professional demographic is made up of health-conscious business execs to seniors. They will not be chowing down on Doritos while perusing Cheech and Chong videos on YouTube. It’ll be used not for getting high as much as tackling issues such as the consequences of cancer, aid with sleep, anxiety issues, and a host of other ailments. Not wanting to risk exposing their organs to a plethora of side effects from pharmaceuticals, this will become the most natural solution available. For women whose libido is shrinking and are wanting but not desiring their husbands, this will open the door to ‘sexy time.’ A bonus being pot can assist in alleviating menopausal symptoms without the extreme side effects of conventional pharma. Where one benefit of a drug is at the cost of 52 adverse reactions, death included. Laughing or silliness never making the list.
Alcohol was the drug in our home. I watched it ravage my family. For my father and other members of the Armed Forces who served in the Second World War and suffered from PTSD, it was a way to self-medicate and combat the residual demons from that historic event. Society was not equipped at that time to deal with those that came back from battle with severe mental anguish. Alcohol, however, was accepted. I’ve often wondered why something that can make someone ugly and violent can be so accessible and legal. Those high on pot don’t possess that antagonistic or cruel streak, not even when it comes to addressing their munchies.
There are lots of dangerous legalized drugs that we have agreement around. Some being Alcohol, diet pills, cough medicine, acetaminophen, and sugar being compared to cocaine in the physiological effects it has on our brain. All are costing our health care system. Our revered trans fats are scheduled to be obliterated in two years due to the severity it has had on our health.
I understand the fear around legalized marijuana, but as with anything, we don’t know what we don’t know. Education will be of paramount importance as the government rolls out its new laws preparing for it to be regulated. There’s no disputing it’s a drug like many others, and zero tolerance will be mandatory. When it comes to the safety of others, marijuana must be used responsibly. For some, it can be as addictive as alcohol. When something that can generate revenue is normalized, the negative aspects tend to be in its shadow. That doesn’t mean we ignore those facts, but rather factor those variables into the equation. All issues demand to be appropriately addressed in the process of it being legitimized. Government and Law Enforcement are currently scrambling to address worse case scenarios. My question is will there be enough cops to enforce the zero tolerance and will it cut into their Tim Horton’s time?
The legalization of cannabis was going to happen at some point because it is an area of industry and job creation that can’t be overlooked, like electric cars and other innovative technologies. This one is no different. With a growing trend towards vegan diets and holistic healthcare, there is synergy in its timing. Any industries providing jobs and moving in the direction of innovation requires examination. The food industry will be a direct benefactor as will Uber and Lyft. Sex drives will increase, and Naturopaths will be employing alternative medicines for those that are opting for a natural way to address their medical issues. Power drinks will have to decide whether they’re going to pump you up or chill you out and pizza shops will have extended hours.
It will only be a matter of time before we adopt it into our lifestyle as we have the culture of Tim Horton’s. National lifestyle magazines featuring Thanksgiving menus highlighting herbed infused stuffing alongside herbed beaver tales, gently dusted in icing sugar, beautifully photographed. Hemp plants decorated like mini Christmas trees for the 375 square foot condo. Christmas will remain as Ho, Ho, Ho, while corporations are looking to profit off of this new commodity sing dough, dough, dough.
Canada will become the parent whose pantry is stocked full of treats. The kids who live there know it’s around so they won’t bother. It’ll be the kids that come from other neighbourhoods that will be gobbling down the treats, smoking the bongs and trying out this new herbal champagne. All because they don’t have the same access at their home. That’s where the difference is going to be. While some Canadians partake, many will not. Just like back bacon and poutine. It’s not for everyone.
There won’t be any pomp and circumstance because we are a sensible and progressive lot. Not looking to bring harm and yet open enough to recognize new financial possibilities. Our culture will change in that herb will have a more extensive connotation outside of dill and coriander. Weedologists will become the new sommeliers, and Mary Jane might not be the first name new parents consider for their baby girl. Papers will mean what you’re rolling your pot in and not what’s sitting in the recycling bin. Hydro won’t be referencing electricity buy hydroponics and Bogart, as in Humphrey, will return speaking to selfishly hogging a joint, stemming from how the actor would keep a cigarette burning in the corner of his mouth without ever taking a puff.
It will become normalized in a Canadian way, like shorts on the first warm day in what is otherwise a frigid February. The Canadian flag will remain with its robust maple leaf with no plans to replace it with a marijuana leaf. There will be no more 4/20 celebrations because it will merely become available 365. A buck of beer will be in its shadow, and I suspect tourism will soar. People will want to know how cities like Toronto, the destination Peter Ustinov wrote as New York City run by the Swiss, will be dealing with this radical addition to its culture alongside its diversity. To complement its 140 different languages and growing, will be 779 strains of cannabis. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Haute Couture stores peppered from coast to coast create an elegant designed one-hit pipe or vaporizer for the fashion conscious. The culinary industry will introduce it as a high-end foodie addition, and it will only be a matter of time before Tim Horton’s comes out with a ham and cheese scone, replacing the chives with weed.
Good thing Canadians are practiced at rolling up the rim because come October 17th rolling is precisely what they’ll be doing.
God Bless ‘Weed The North.’…cough.