Article by John Roe, Hamilton Spectator
Everyone is making a big fuss about July 1 this year, the country’s 150th birthday.
But next year’s anniversary will have a far greater impact on the nation than this year’s bash. That’s the day the Trudeau government’s landmark policy to legalize weed comes into effect.
July 1, 2018, will mark a sea change after almost 100 years of prohibition as Canada becomes the first G7 country to legalize and regulate the production, sale and use of recreational marijuana.
The change will affect most Canadians, even those who’ve never dreamed of lighting up a joint: parents, educators, people with medical conditions or mental health troubles, anyone who could potentially face the increased threat of those driving under the influence of marijuana.
Despite its significance, many details around this landmark policy change remain as hazy as a smoke-filled room.
Some provinces, such as Manitoba, have expressed deep dismay at the tight timelines Ottawa has set. The feds, however, have been clear the deadline for legalization is firm.
That insistence is unwise.
All parties agree creating a new regime governing legalized marijuana is an enormously complex task.
Issues to be addressed cover a broad range, from the clear evidence of harm to young brains, to the logistics of enforcement.
For example, some police forces are now testing portable screening devices to catch those who drive while impaired from pot. But each of the country’s 180 police forces has just over a year to acquire the devices, train officers and establish protocols for their use.