As of the 17th of October, I’ve been a fully law-abiding Canadian citizen.
Ok, that’s a lie: I’m still recklessly cycling around town without reflectors on my wheels (worth a $169 fine). Until it becomes too cold for me to ride to work, I remain a softcore criminal.
October 17 was when recreational cannabis became legal in Canada, just in time for the country to get extra fun out of their Halloween haul of fun-sized candy bars. Canada is the second country in the world to legalize recreational marijuana. Upon learning this, I thought, “Of course the Netherlands was the first,” but it’s not even legal there, just tolerated. Uruguay gets to be #1.
Evidently, only those on either extreme are unhappy about it. On the pro side, we have long-time activists rightfully pissed at how all these former prohibitionist politicians (Julian Fantino, I am glaring at you) are now profiting off the newly legal industry.
On the anti side, we have those who think about pot the way Fantino used to before he learned how rich he could get selling it. Fantino was quoted in 2004 while discussing legalization, “I guess we can legalize murder too and then we won’t have a murder case. We can’t go that way.” Solid logic from the former chief of the Toronto Police Service right there.
Recently, I couldn’t help but wiggle myself into a Twitter mini-debate with a woman who posted a chart showing cannabis-involved fatalities in Colorado. I pointed out the small print on her chart which read, “Data includes fatalities where alcohol or other drugs may have been present.”
She did not respond, but I am certain she has not changed her stance on legalization since then.
I haven’t always been pro-legalization. In the 12th grade, the teacher assigned the class to write an argument essay on this subject. I chose the anti side, not because I felt the teacher had a bias (if anything, he was pro-legalization), but because I had limited knowledge of what marijuana was like. From the lens of my 16-year-old self, only spaced-out chumps were potheads. I didn’t really think marijuana users could be grade 12 English teachers, much less the only good teacher I’ve ever had.
It wasn’t until I was around 24 when I inhaled it for the first time. I didn’t get sucked into a world of video games and bottomless bags of chips. It didn’t open a gateway to the harder stuff, nor did I adopt “wake and bake” as part of my morning routine. The worst thing I’ve done while high would probably be that time I ate an entire bag of apples and was shitting applesauce the next day (not really).
The worst thing I’ve done while drunk? I don’t even remember, because I blacked out.
The anti-legalization camp is basically a whole lot of senseless arm-flailing. Among the worst teachers I’ve had was my grade 9 science teacher who once handed the class photocopies of an old news article from the US about how a promising young athlete died after puffing on a joint. Even old anti-legalization Laura knew this was bullshit.
Still, I understand that legalization had to happen with a bunch of strict regulations in place to appease the other side. This is the government’s attempt at pleasing both extremes. Those in-between, like me, are mostly pleased. I’m happy about not having to look for a “hook-up” through a friend who doesn’t even know the dealer personally. It was nice being able to shop online and then pick up our goods from a Canada Post outlet. It’s always nice to have a choice other than a ¼ ounce medley of unidentified buds.
For our first legal purchase, Yann and I bought Nanas, an indica from Aurora, and Great White Shark, a sativa from San Rafael. The SQDC website rates their products on strength. Not really knowing what I’ve been smoking since moving to Montréal, I wanted to start with the mildest strain. “Moderate” is the SQDC equivalent of Starbuck’s “Tall” option as there’s nothing weaker than moderate.
So far, I’ve only tried Great White Shark. The buds were a bit dry—an already-common complaint among SQDC customers—but as the last illegal ¼ ounce Yann and I bought lasted more than five months, we were smoking what amounted to THC-infused dust, thus making Great White Shark comparatively moist. Surprisingly enough, my tolerance appears to be higher than expected so I’ll need something more ferocious than Great White Shark. Like Nanas, maybe…
I think I’ll try that now. Yann did just come home with a bunch of apples, after all.