Pubdate: Fri, 02 Sep 2016
Source: Nelson Star (CN BC)
Copyright: 2016 Black Press
Author: John Paolozzi


With the end of marijuana prohibition expected to happen within the 
next few years, the debate is now focused on what will take its place.

The Liberals have promised to deliver legislation that will legalize 
and regulate pot,but what will that legislation look like? The end of 
alcohol prohibition might offer some insight.But first a little 
pre-history lesson.

As far as we can tell, people have been making and drinking alcohol 
for almost 9,000 years. For the first 7,000 years, this took the form 
of simple fermented concoctions like beer and wine, but around 100 
A.D. we figured out distillation,which allowed us to make stronger spirits.

Alcohol production really started to take off during the industrial 
revolution in the 1700s,and that's when things started to get 
crazy.Mass urbanization - coupled with cheap,potent booze - was a 
recipe for social chaos.

By the mid-1800s, people were starting to think that prohibition was 
a good idea.

In Canada, the Temperance Act was passed in 1864, which allowed any 
county to forbid the sale of alcohol by majority vote.

Provincial governments passed various laws that prohibited alcohol 
sales to the general public in the 1890s and early 20th century, and 
by 1918 the federal government stepped up and made prohibition 
nation-wide as part of the War Measures Act, but this was repealed 
just two years later, in1920.

The provinces all maintained prohibition for some time after, but 
each one eventually fell, with the last holdout being PEI in 1948.

During this entire period, alcohol was still widely available as 
medicine. Bad back? Nasty cough?Nerves? Whisky was the cure-all. 
Interestingly, doctors noticed a massive increase in the need for 
prescriptions around Christmas and other holidays.

As prohibition fell across the country, silly, overbearing 
legislation took its place, and much of it is still in place today. 
Responsible adults still can't legally enjoy a beer at the beach in 
most of Canada.

Ontario residents have to go to separate stores to buy beer and 
spirits. And it's only been in the past few decades that anyone but a 
handful of large companies has been permitted a license to make alcohol.

Our parents' generation had maybe a dozen or so choices when it came 
to beer and wine produced in this country.

But thanks to relaxed regulations and the evolution of independent 
micro-breweries, wineries, and micro-distilleries, Canadians now have 
considerable choice.

The culture that has grown up around this industry is not one of 
excess, but of connoisseurship.

So what has this to do with pot? If history is any indicator, the 
government will pass legislation with similar stupid - and mostly 
unnecessary - restrictions governing the sale of marijuana and other 
pot consumables.

But if we're smart, and if we look at how the alcohol industry has 
evolved over the past century, we might be able to avoid the same pitfalls.

The advantages are obvious: we can jump right into building a strong 
new industry that will not only serve consumers responsibly, but also 
create thousands of new jobs.

With the number of dispensaries in Nelson now at eight (probably a 
record for shops per population), we have an opportunity to lead the 
way for how Canada ends pot prohibition.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom