Article by Jacquie Miller, Ottawa Citizen
In less than a week, Canadians will be able to buy weed legally. That’s about the only certainty as the country ends a century of prohibition against pot.
Will the pot-starved or curious come out by the millions to purchase their first legal joint? Or will legalization day be anticlimactic, considering anyone who wants to smoke pot is probably already doing it?
Whatever happens on Oct. 17, it’s just the beginning of the public policy experiment that makes Canada only the second country to legalize recreational marijuana. (The first was Uruguay, which legalized pot in 2013 and started selling cannabis in pharmacies in 2017.)
The results will unfold for years, as Canada legalizes a wider variety of products and discovers how legal cannabis changes our economy and our society.
But for now, all eyes are on Day 1. Ontario has the country’s largest market, but the rollout will be more subdued and probably more confusing in this province than the rest of the country. That’s a consequence of the Conservative government’s last-minute decision to introduce legislation that changes key cannabis policies adopted by the previous Liberal regime.
There won’t be any lineups at stores in Ontario, because there won’t be any stores. The province will start with online sales only.
The Conservative government ditched the planned government-run outlets operated by a branch of the LCBO in favour of privately run pot shops. The licensing rules still have to be worked out. Bricks-and-mortar stores won’t open until April.