Contrary to Critics’ Claims, Legalization of Cannabis Has Not Changed the Country

Article by Campbell Clark, Globe and Mail

OPINION Contrary to critics’ claims, legalization of cannabis has not changed the country CAMPBELL CLARK

The warnings were dire. The legalization of cannabis, opponents said, would encourage kids to smoke pot more, cause an undeterred rash of drug-impaired driving, and lead this country into much deeper drug problems.
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This was just last year, in the debate on the bill to legalize cannabis, when a chorus of critics told us this country would be changed dramatically. Rosemarie Falk, the Conservative MP for the Saskatchewan riding of Battlefords-Lloydminster, warned it “would have a profound impact on our Canadian society.”
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That didn’t happen.
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“It’s a little bit like this generation’s Y2K,” said Bill Blair, Minister of Organized Crime Reduction, who was the Liberal government’s point man on legalization. “Everyone was waiting for planes to fall out of the sky and for the lights to go out.”
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He’s right. Last Wednesday marked six months since legalization – a social revolution that was not so revolutionary. On Saturday, 4/20 events across the country were perhaps slightly more like celebrations than protests. There was a big party in Vancouver. As usual.
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Remarkably, this hot-button issue that Canadian politicians dodged for decades left few marks on national politics.
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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberals didn’t suffer. Nor did they gain. Polls taken before legalization showed most Canadians were in favour, or ambivalent. Polls since haven’t shown any reward for Mr. Trudeau for following through.
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There have been plenty of headlines about glitches – the shortage of legal weed, notably, and the fact that legal pot has only replaced about 20 per cent of the black market. Conservative Senator Leo Housakos cited that on Saturday when he tweeted legalization was “another Trudeau failed experiment.”
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But six months on, legalization has been remarkably successful.
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Most important is the madness it stopped – the arrest of roughly 40,000 to 50,000 Canadians a year for possession of cannabis.

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