‘Regulate marijuana like alcohol’ is a campaign slogan that has always resonated with people, and for good reason. Alcohol is legal in North America and has been for many decades. A significant portion of North America’s population consumes alcohol and most people are familiar with the failures of alcohol prohibition.
Cannabis has been found to be 114 times safer than alcohol, and since alcohol is legal, so too should cannabis be legal. It’s that simple logic that has helped cannabis legalization initiatives pass in 8 states and Washington D.C., with more reform hopefully coming soon.
One place where cannabis will be legalized in 2018 is Canada. Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau campaigned on the promise that legalization would become a reality in Canada, and a big push has been underway since his election to make good on that campaign promise. The Canadian House of Commons has already passed a legalization bill, and it’s now up to the Senate to follow suit.
Legalization was originally projected to occur on July 1, 2018 in Canada, but a firm date has since become a bit elusive. Many in Canada are now framing legalization as expecting to occur in the ‘Summer of 2018’ but not on an exact date. A new report is out which has found that Canadians spend almost as much money on marijuana as they do wine, which I think captures how popular cannabis is in Canada (and therefore how much Canada needs legalization!). Per BBC:
Canadians spent about C$6bn ($5.6bn, £3.5bn) on cannabis in 2015 – almost as much as they did on wine.
The estimate comes from Canada’s bureau of statistics, which studied marijuana consumption between 1960 and 2015.
One other thing that I think was significant from the report was that, ”In the 1960s and 1970s cannabis was primarily consumed by young people, according to Statistics Canada. But in 2015, only 6% of 15-17 year olds smoked cannabis recreationally, compared to two thirds of adults over 25.”
To put the 6% of 15-17 year olds consumption rate into perspective, 2.9% of 10th graders in the United States reported as being daily cannabis users, and 5.9% of 12th graders reported as being daily cannabis users (per Marijuana Moment). Those United States statistics are down from 2012 when legalization victories started occurring in the U.S., although it’s fair to point out that those are for daily consumption. The ‘ever in your lifetime’ rates are greater percentages.
The 2/3rds of adults over 25 cannabis consumption statistic in Canada is significantly higher than what Gallup has found in the United States. Earlier this year Gallup found that 45% of American adults reported as having consumed cannabis at least once in their lifetime. Cannabis is very popular in Canada, almost as popular as wine from a consumption standpoint. Considering that cannabis is safer than wine (no offense to wine consumers!), it’s beyond time that Canada legalized.