Pubdate: Wed, 27 Sep 2017
Source: Delta Optimist (CN BC)
Copyright: 2017 Lower Mainland Publishing Group Inc
Author: Brad Sherwin


Over the past few weeks, the talk has really started to ramp up on one
topic in Canada. It's not hurricanes, earthquakes and a war of
(hopefully just) words between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un - all very
serious, global problems. Not in Canada, dude, we're talking about

As if we need any help with our reputation as the growers of ganja.
B.C. has long been seen as a premier supplier of the best pot in the
world, even when it was illegal to grow.

But an election promise has changed everything. By next summer,
lighting up will be legal. Well, maybe.

The week before last, the federal government's health committee held
hearings on the coming legalization of marijuana. For five days,
witness after witness, experts and otherwise, spoke to the committee
about the coming changes. Police departments across Canada have asked
for an extension before legalizing. Others extolled the dangers of
smoking pot. Still others have said why wait, just remove penalties
now. The whole issue is in a real state of flux.

Personally, I don't touch the stuff. I know people who do, and as long
as they aren't driving or blowing the smoke my way, I don't really
care. I tend to agree with legalizing it, lots of people have had to
deal with the consequences of possession, which seems a bit much. It's
not good for you, but tobacco and alcohol take a lot more lives than
pot. Plus Paul McCartney wants to see it legalized, and I'm a big
Beatles fan.

Medical marijuana has been available for years, and it really does
help people. Cancer patients use it with pain management. It has been
shown to help with lots of other ailments as well. It's not addictive,
you can't overdose and it doesn't poison you like too much alcohol.
What's the big deal?

But we need to keep it out of the hands of kids! Well, if you think
kids don't use it now, you are sorely mistaken. Legalizing may get the
underground element reduced, which might actually create a better
environment for keeping it away from kids. Heaven knows prohibition
isn't doing it.

There is one thing that could hold up the process, however, and that's
the product itself. Health Canada has had several recalls of crops due
to pesticides used to kill bugs.

 From what I gather, it's not the pesticide itself that causes the
problem, it's what happens when you light the plant and pesticide on
fire and inhale it, or process it into other forms. That means
expensive pest management plans, which cuts into profitability for the
licensed producers. They aren't growing this for free, after all.

The Motley Fool, a financial newsletter, called it a prisoner's
dilemma - grow without pesticides and end up with smaller yields and
less money, or use the pesticides and hope you don't get tested.
That's the government's headache right now - making sure the product
being offered is as safe as possible.

That could be the one issue that holds up legalization because nothing
chews up incremental tax revenue better than a good lawsuit over
tainted products authorized by government.

I guess pot can cause a bigger headache than people thought.

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Brad Sherwin, MBA is a long-time resident of South Delta, and has over 
25 years' experience in marketing, public relations and business 
strategy. He teaches marketing at Douglas College.
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