Bake(d) Sale Coming Soon – The Road to the Legalization of Pot
I'm looking forward to the day when the prohibition on marijuana comes to an end in Canada. It's a promise the Liberal government made during the election campaign and appears to be one they plan to make good on. It's not going to happen tomorrow, but as far as I'm concerned, the sooner the better. I'm anxious to get baking.
The majority of Canadians support the decriminalization of marijuana – 65% according to an August 2015 Ipsos study – and it hit the mainstream years ago. In what has become a not so hush hush pastime at dinner parties everywhere, anecdotally I see a lot of people in my age group taking part recreationally and no one bats an eye. At a recent get together of educated, otherwise law abiding citizens the menu included cannabis cake for desert. The millennials I know couldn’t give a hoot (they’re more concerned with how they’ll ever afford to buy a house. Maybe they should smoke some pot and chillax). And anyone who complains of a sore joint or trouble sleeping can get a prescription.
Of course when it comes to what is socially acceptable versus what is technically allowed, the wheels of change move at different speeds. Especially when drugs, safety and criminality come into play. But the times, they are a ‘changin. Earlier this week it was reported that Shoppers Drug Mart is investigating selling prescription marijuana through its pharmacies, which would make sense since most other prescription medications are sold that way.
And on Wednesday a federal court judge struck down a law that prohibits those who need medical marijuana from growing their own. In recent years these people had rely on the limited number of licensed growers who only deliver by mail or the illegally operating dispensaries. The dispensaries may offer convenience, but since they aren’t technically allowed to do business it’s tough to know what you’re really buying or where it came from. People who need marijuana for medicinal purposes should be allowed to grow their own.
For those who argue against legalizing pot for recreational use, I say this: Since a large and growing part of the populace supports the idea, and many are doing it anyway, doesn’t it make more sense to regulate it, control it and tax it then to further criminalize it? Legalizing pot will mean more laws, not fewer.
Obviously there is a lot to figure out. Like how to test for drivers under the influence. And if pharmacies are selling prescription marijuana, who should be allowed to sell bud for recreational use? I for one support a combined public-private model. It is the one that best serves the consumer (competitive prices), the government (a source of tax revenue and regulated quality) and the community at large (the two groups will have a shared interest in education and social support).
Liquor has been banned at various times in both Canadian and American history, but never did the lifting of those bans cause society to descend into unrest and the same will be true of pot legalization. Those who support the recreational industry will by and large continue to act as responsible citizens, the government will regulate, the black market will dwindle and people who don’t buy the product won’t be affected.
A article in this week’s Globe & Mail by a former Google executive who quit his dream job to start a chain of pot centred coffee shops, “Tokyo Smoke“, says marijuana is the next internet. A bold statement. One hundred per cent of people I know rely on the internet. My grandma uses the internet and somehow I can’t see her rolling a fatty. But then again I never worked for Google and Google seems to know everything.
There is no doubt, with legalization will come a broader multi-billion dollar industry. Because it’s not just the growers and sellers, but also a slew of related products and services that will set the stage for innovation and opportunity. The edibles industry alone will explode.
Many chefs I know are working on their own recipes right now. (The secret’s in the clarified butter.) There will be marijuana food brands, pot themed cookbooks, cannabis kitchen gadgets and how-to-cook-with-it television shows. Personally, I’m confident my own Sativa Chocolate Chunk Dream Cookies will be in high demand. But one thing’s for sure, the competition will be fierce.