As we approach cannabis legalization in Canada, it still surprises me how there is a general fear that mayhem will happen on October 17th. As a resident of Ontario, I will be affected by the changes to the rules for marijuana sales and consumption in the province. There will be no set limit to the number of cannabis retailers in the province and adults will be able to consume cannabis anywhere where smoking is permitted. With this came a general outcry from the opposition parties (not surprising), as well as from many in the public who seem to think that anarchy will be the outcome of these policies. Although I will keep my opinion of our Premier to myself in this blog, I see no harm in the new policy he is putting into place.
Will more people show up ‘stoned’ to work? It is hard to say for sure if there will be a small change here, but in most workplaces, it will not be tolerated after cannabis legalization on October 17th. Will more people drive stoned? Again, maybe, but it is still illegal, with some hefty penalties because of legislative bill C46 (I won’t give you my opinion on that either, but in not giving my opinion, I will say that my opinion isn’t favorable). Just because it soon will be legal to smoke cannabis in public places, it doesn’t mean that people will just in general be stupid. I often walk on Toronto streets amid many people smoking cigarettes and no one is blowing smoke in my face. Drinking is legal, and we don’t see a proliferation of drunk drivers on the street.
I recently was able to sit through the Retail Council of Canada’s Retail Cannabis Forum and it was very interesting. There is a general fear of the unknown based on the tone of the conference, but in general it showed trends in a positive direction. The liability talk was around risk, rather than the unknown impairment, and there was a general call for more research. Both topics I agree with. We need to keep our employees safe, and the best way to do that is to reduce risk. I am a firm believer that Canadians should have the right to both consume and grow cannabis. I also believe that more research needs to be done on both the positive and negative impacts of cannabis on individuals, as well as society. Legalization is going to make Canada a leader in this research while creating policies that keep Canadians safe at work.
I am excited to be part of the upcoming legal cannabis market, and I believe that we are in a position to learn and grow (and home-grow) from this new sector and truly find the positives in this change. Fear not fellow Canadians. No matter how many cannabis retailers there are and where you can smoke it, I firmly have the belief that most people will be considerate and respectful to others, we are after all still Canadian. Let’s all make this change a positive one for all of us.
David Kurth, CEO (AKA: Chief Business Hippy)
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