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Ready or not, they've legalized pot!

Wednesday, 17 October 2018. Posted in Shootin' the Breeze

Ready or not, they've legalized pot!

Ready or not, they've legalized pot!

By Shannon Robison

As of today, it is legal for Canadians to use marijuana on a recreational basis.

The impact of legalization and its enforcement have been hot topics of debate since Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised, during his election campaign, that a Liberal government would begin working to legalize and regulate marijuana right away.

Whether one is for or against this legislation, or has perhaps taken a seat squarely on the fence, really doesn't matter at this point — it’s done.

What difference it will make in the day-to-day life of an average Canadian remains to be seen, but it's possible the change will not be as noticeable as anticipated.

Will someone who has never considered smoking marijuana, suddenly seek it out?

Likely not.

Will someone who has regularly smoked pot on a recreational basis change their habits? Will they smoke more? Will they smoke less?

Things will likely remain the same.

Will the regular user begin purchasing from different sources?

Some may feel it is safer and go that route, but dealers will likely keep their prices slightly below the anticipated retail price of $10 to $12 per gram (based on wholesale pricing determined by the Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis Commission) to retain their customers.

Some will simply not wish to make purchases publicly and will continue buying from established sources.

Will legalization keep marijuana out of the hands of children?

Likely not. Youth have always found ways to get what they want, be it someone to pull beer from the liquor store or a way to score drugs.

The question becomes, if it’s legal and adults no longer see reason to keep their stash hidden between the mattresses, does it wind up becoming more accessible?

There is valid concern over people driving stoned.

There are already people impaired by drugs on the road, just as there are people behind the wheel who are impaired by alcohol.

If the number of users increases, incidents of impairment will likely increase as well.

There are a multitude of questions without solid answers. It’s possible this has led to so many feeling unsettled with this change.

If you've seen medical marijuana change someone's life, you know the positive impact the drug can have.

If you've seen someone move from smoking “just a joint” to an opioid addiction in search of a better high, you know the negative impact the drug can have.

In between are people who consume pot the same way they do alcohol, with responsibility.

Over the next few weeks we’ll watch what happens in the community — it's too early to guess what we may see in Pincher Creek and Crowsnest Pass.

Legalization comes with rules, which differ by community and by province.

Cannabis is legal, but:

— only if you're 18 or over

— only if purchased from licensed stores or albertacannabis.org

— 30 grams is the most you can buy or carry at a time

— you can't smoke in public places

— only four plants can be grown per household

— driving high is illegal

— it can't be within reach of anyone in a vehicle

— edibles are not legal to sell yet

— kids can't enter cannabis stores

The provincial government has four policy priorities:

— keeping cannabis out of the hands of children and youth

— protecting safety on roads in workplaces and in public spaces

— protecting public health

— limiting the illegal market

A plethora of information is available at www.alberta.ca/cannabis-legalization.

The Cannabis Consumption Bylaw (1623-18), in effect as of Oct. 9 for the Town of Pincher Creek, prohibits the smoking, vaping or consumption of cannabis in any public place.

A person may smoke, vape or consume cannabis at a public event if a permit has been granted by the designated officer and specific conditions are met.

Council also may, by resolution, designate areas of town-owned public places that cannabis may be smoked, vaped or consumed after holding a public hearing with regard to a proposed designation.

Visit www.pinchercreek.ca for more information.

Be sure to use trusted information sources when doing your research or checking for rules.