In October 2018, the Canadian government legalized marijuana.
It’s a limited legalization: we are supposed* to buy it from licensed dispensaries, locally or on line, each household is limited to growing no more than four plants each, and each community and municipality got to add by-laws about where we can smoke it (basically, most communities used the model for cigarette smoking and drinking alcohol), and where licensed grow-ops and retail outlets can be located.
In the months leading up to The Day, and especially (for some unfathomable reason) the night before the legislation went live, some people were predicting doom and destruction and the re-run of Sodom and Gemorrah – with attendant rises in car crashes and violence and other, unspecified crimes.
It’s nearly six months on, and the silence has been deafening.
There was one (ONE!) report on the first day of the new world when a driver was caught smoking a joint while driving. That was in Winnipeg.
Closer to home, the only news I could find was that Camrose County tried to prevent a grow-op from opening by claiming it didn’t fall under the agricultural regulations, but last week, the courts told them “Nuh-uh – it’s the same as any other market-garden-type enterprise” and ruled that it could go ahead.
We still have no dispensaries here in town, and those who need to have to drive a whole 20 minutes to Wetaskiwin for instant weed purchases. City Council is losing money, because we have a number of empty storefronts that could be filled not only by those retail places (and probably some inventive snack-and-go shops next door to them, because Nature abhors a vacuum) in terms of business taxes and money staying in the community.
The police, not needing to worry about people carrying around small quantities of reefer, are spending more time dealing with drug problems regarding meth and heroin, and going after car thieves and mediating domestic altercations.
The rest of us are carrying on pretty much as always, except a lot more people stand around at the end of their back gardens after a long day at work, having a couple of tokes after supper.
Armageddon did not come.
The sky did not fall.
I, myself, smoked a joint on the day it became legal, just on a matter of principle. Since then, I’ve been too busy writing short stories for anthologies I was invited to participate in, and also learning to knit.
*In point of fact, a country-wide shortage after the first day, coupled with reports that the legal weed is generally of low quality, has led to people returning to their normal suppliers. The police seem, for the most part, to be studiously ignoring this.