When Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced in 2016 that Canada would legalize adult use of cannabis across their country, he had a whopping 60% support from his fellow Canadians to do just that. But, in the past year, support has dwindled to only 43% a recent poll by Hill+Knowlton Strategies.
What is causing the change of heart? It’s hard to put a finger on the exact reason, but even cannabis legalization advocates are reconsidering with many believing the new rules will create a government operated behemoth that will prevent small businesses from participating.
“It will be government run and I think they’re going to crush all the little guys like us who started this movement in the first place,” Luke Reynolds, owner of PipeDreamz in Ajax, told www.thestar.com. Reynolds was a vendor at Lift, Canada’s biggest cannabis convention which was Saturday and Sunday in Toronto.
There has been ongoing debate whether to have stand-alone government run stores serving only marijuana, create separate space in current provincial-run alcohol stores, or to sell it right alongside alcohol. Of those that want a combination public-private system, 43 percent would like to see the products sold from actual pharmacies.
They are planning to have the allowable age for purchase and consumption at 18, which goes against the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) recommendation of 21 years old. The CMA pointed to studies which show possible damaging effects on the brains of younger smokers.
Even with substantial opposition from Tories and the health industries, the task force recommends the 18 year old age limit, telling The Toronto Star, “Eighteen is the age at which young adults — and I call them deliberately young adults — are expected to be able to make decisions, whether it’s who to vote for, to buy alcohol, to smoke.”
Oil companies have also come out against legalization. They are worried about worker safety and employee reliability issues.
“We have certainly failed more people in Colorado (for drug use) after legalization than we did before,” explained Precision Drilling CEO Kevin Neveu to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC). Their drilling company operates in Alberta, Canada, and in Colorado in the United States.
“There’s a link, there’s a cause. Even during the recruitment phase where we warn them we’ll do a test, a surprising number still test positive,” Neveu explained further.
As the debate has progressed, a large number of Canadians are pulling back their support. It appears a cautious approach will be taken as they approach the July 2018 legalization day.