Pubdate: Wed, 10 Jan 2018
Source: Calgary Sun, The (CN AB)
Copyright: 2018 The Calgary Sun
Author: James Wallace
Page: 15


At some point this summer, Justin Trudeau expects to make good on his
promise to legalize recreational marijuana use across Canada.

The Senate thus-far has spoiled Trudeau's plans to kick off Canada Day
with a country-wide high, and may yet delay or otherwise thwart speedy
implementation of his Cannabis Act.

The provinces, meanwhile, are working to flesh out the regulatory
details that will govern the sale, purchase, distribution and use of
pot across the country.

However, the reality of marijuana legalization is fast approaching,
raising the question, how do Canadians feel about legal pot now that
it is upon us?

A new Business of Cannabis poll conducted by Nanos Research, released
exclusively to the Toronto Sun, shows clear support among Canadians
for legalization - 70% who wholly or somewhat support

That's consistent with recent polls and reflects a longer-term view
held by a majority of Canadians who have long supported both
decriminalizing casual marijuana use and the medical use of marijuana.

But the same Business of Cannabis/Nanos poll also shows Canadians
aren't ready yet to embrace pot in the same way they do alcohol.

Just 14% of Canadians are comfortable lighting up a joint or sharing a
pot brownie with family members, while another 15% say they're
somewhat comfortable consuming cannabis products with mom, dad, the
teenaged kids or grandparents, etc. (29% in total).

In contrast, more than twice that number (62%) are comfortable sharing
a beer, glass of wine, scotch or other alcohol product with their family.

So while Canadians are cool with toasting the Queen at Christmas or
cracking a cold one at birthday parties and backyard barbeques,
despite broad acceptance for marijuana legalization, there's general
reticence to actually indulge in pot with family.

Jay Rosenthal, President of Business of Cannabis, a marijuana industry
news website, said he wasn't "surprised by these numbers" and
suggested acceptance will grow as long as the industry delivers
marijuana products safely and responsibly.

If we could travel back in time to early, post-prohibition days, lots
of people probably would have felt uncomfortable drinking booze at
home, Rosenthal suggested.

The poll also found only one in four are comfortable with the amount
of information circulating on legalization - which poses an education
gap for government that the insurance industry, among others, has
already warned about.

And it found that while Canadians support the potential medical
benefits of marijuana, they are divided on whether the industry has
done enough to promote responsible usage.

Once legalized, pot will become increasingly visible, following and
creating a range of new challenges for government, law enforcement and
the private sector.

For starters, every province has a slightly different plan for pot
sales and distribution. Quebec for example plans to sell marijuana
through its provincially-run liquor board, as does Ontario and
Manitoba through its Liquor and Gaming Authority, while those in the
wild west will score over-the-counter weed at private pot stores.
Peripatetic potheads may well need a guide as they travel the country
to find their suppliers.

More common usage is expected to lead to more common abuse, and
concerns here range from impaired driving - and how exactly police
test for and prosecute those who smoke and drive - to increased
addiction and workplace issues.

Pot will collectively put billions into the pockets of government,
creating another kind of addiction and conflict with organized
criminals, who won't sit idly by while bureaucrats and politicians
muscle them out of their traditional and lucrative territory.

Meanwhile, with legalization coming, everyone from tourist operators
to purveyors of medicinal remedies to restaurant owners (think edible
pot desserts, legalizing the sale of edibles is slated to come a year
after marijuana legalization) will be looking for ways to cash in on
legal recreational pot.

As Bob Dylan, who turned the Beatles onto cannabis, said in song, the
times they are a changin'.
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MAP posted-by: Matt