The Great Green North
April 20, 2016 1:03 PM   Subscribe

At this week's UN General Assembly Special Session on drug policy - scheduled after lobbying by Mexico, Guatemala and Colombia, whose leaders are calling for a more “humane solution” to the drugs problem that goes beyond a focus on enforcement and criminalization - Canada's Health Minister Jane Philpott announced that Canada will begin the process of legalizing and regulating marijuana in spring 2017.
posted by showbiz_liz (124 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
 
(Unfortunately, the UNGASS session itself made it clear that a radical change in UN policy will not be forthcoming any time soon - they couldn't even get all states to agree to put "no drug-related death penalties" in the outcome document - but there does seem to be momentum behind a shift toward treating it as a medical/health issue rather than primarily a criminal issue, at least.)
posted by showbiz_liz at 1:06 PM on April 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


While I'm happy that this is finally happening, there's literally no reason why it needs to take so long. Class it the same as alcohol and all the other laws fall into place. Done.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 1:06 PM on April 20, 2016 [5 favorites]


Canada will begin the process of legalizing and regulating marijuana in spring 2017.

Boy, you guys are just itchin' for us to come up there and "liberate" ya'all, ain'cha?
posted by ZenMasterThis at 1:08 PM on April 20, 2016 [6 favorites]


Try it and see. It worked so well the other three times.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 1:10 PM on April 20, 2016 [48 favorites]


Just in time for all the Trump presidential refugees!
posted by Mitrovarr at 1:12 PM on April 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


Boy, you guys are just itchin' for us to come up there and "liberate" ya'all, ain'cha?

The only thing getting liberated will be all the sweet, sweet Tubman $20s getting liberated from American hands by the soon-to-be-booming Canadian weed tourism industry
posted by showbiz_liz at 1:14 PM on April 20, 2016 [37 favorites]


They really reported this on 4/20. Well played thestar.com, well played.
posted by gwint at 1:17 PM on April 20, 2016 [22 favorites]


Canada will begin the process of legalizing and regulating marijuana in spring 2017.

That would be cool, because currently we have legalization (there's almost no enforcement on the many dispensaries in BC) but no regulation. It's all fun and games until someone ODs on a cookie packed with something unexpected that has been sold by a dispensary that has had a business license issued to it by a municipal government for an activity that's currently counter to the criminal code. That will be a giant shitshow, however unlikely it is. The fact remains is that you have absolutely no assurance that the product you're buying is legit. Probably less so than if you have relied on a completely black market (but trusted) supply in the past.

I'm all for legalization, but this grey area makes me uncomfortable.
posted by jimmythefish at 1:18 PM on April 20, 2016 [4 favorites]


They really reported this on 4/20. Well played thestar.com, well played.

No, no, it's way better than that. The Canadian government actually announced it on 4/20!
posted by showbiz_liz at 1:18 PM on April 20, 2016 [34 favorites]


Happy holidays, folks.
posted by brennen at 1:19 PM on April 20, 2016


As I just posted in the other 420 thread, would be great if the legislation gets first reading (or final reading) on 20/4 next year.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 1:20 PM on April 20, 2016


It's all fun and games until someone ODs on a cookie packed with something unexpected

Are there any examples of this happening so far? I'm 100% for regulation too, but this sounds like a boogeyman story.
posted by showbiz_liz at 1:20 PM on April 20, 2016 [9 favorites]


And I'm reading this at 4:20!
posted by valkane at 1:21 PM on April 20, 2016 [7 favorites]


No, no, it's way better than that. The Canadian government actually announced it on 4/20!

Our current Prime Minister once worked as a snowboarding instructor at Whistler. I'd put down $20 that he has every Snoop album.
posted by jimmythefish at 1:21 PM on April 20, 2016 [17 favorites]


While I'm happy that this is finally happening, there's literally no reason why it needs to take so long. Class it the same as alcohol and all the other laws fall into place. Done.

While I am in general agreement with you, there are some wrinkles. There are some international treaties that Canada is party to that present some roadblocks, in terms of clarifying how the country will still meet obligations while also legalizing pot. In addition, while alcohol regulation offers a beginning model for how to treat pot, it can't quite cover it completely; there are also some cross-overs with policy and classifications of tobacco and smoking that need to be considered, I think.

Anyways, it is coming, and there seems to be broad public support for the idea, so I'm interested in how it rolls out from here.
posted by nubs at 1:22 PM on April 20, 2016 [3 favorites]


Are there any examples of this happening so far? I'm 100% for regulation too, but this sounds like a boogeyman story.

Oh, I think it's incredibly unlikely. I haven't heard of anything.
posted by jimmythefish at 1:22 PM on April 20, 2016


Okay, so I slightly oversimplified. Still, this is not legislation that needs a year to be prepared and then go through its readings and through the senate and Royal Assent. They could quite literally table legislation on Friday that covers everything and have it legal before Canada Day.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 1:23 PM on April 20, 2016


I work in a medical office in Canada and had the weirdest call the other day from a telemarketer who was a "medical specialist" and wanted me to listen to a great long spiel about their fabulous strains of marijuana and the great deals they could arrange for our patients and etc. etc. Had to give them the "we don't prescribe marijuana through this office due to..." bit and hang up because they were insistent.

It's not reallly any different than the reps from Pfizer or Wyeth or whoever trying to sweettalk their way into the office but I did wonder for a brief moment if they would give samples, like the little baby packets of Advil.
posted by the uncomplicated soups of my childhood at 1:24 PM on April 20, 2016 [10 favorites]


I'm 100% for regulation too, but this sounds like a boogeyman story.

4 WHOLE MARIJUANAS
posted by acb at 1:24 PM on April 20, 2016 [5 favorites]


In related news mmj has been ruled kosher for passover.
posted by poffin boffin at 1:25 PM on April 20, 2016 [13 favorites]


Are there any examples of this happening so far? I'm 100% for regulation too, but this sounds like a boogeyman story.

Whether it's actually happened or not, people believe it does.
posted by jedicus at 1:25 PM on April 20, 2016


(i found that link while trying to figure out if doritos are still chametz)
posted by poffin boffin at 1:26 PM on April 20, 2016 [7 favorites]


Well, potency does vary between edibles, which if we're looking at marijuana as a useful tool for pain relief/anxiety etc. is a reasonable sticking point for regulation. I'd be unhappy if I just wanted a little toot or something and ended up with a larger dosage, with any drug. If I were taking Tylenol Extra-Strength and it was plain Tylenol, that's going to have an effect.
posted by the uncomplicated soups of my childhood at 1:26 PM on April 20, 2016 [4 favorites]


(I don't believe anyone is going to overdose and die on marijuana but if it is being sold as a commercial product you ostensibly want it to do what it says on the dime baggie)
posted by the uncomplicated soups of my childhood at 1:28 PM on April 20, 2016 [2 favorites]


Are there any examples of this happening so far? I'm 100% for regulation too, but this sounds like a boogeyman story.

No, and these arguments are as dumb as the doomsaying stories about $400 1/8ths that pro-dispensary only people spouted.

The extremes of pro legalization and pro medical-only both spout very, very dumb baseless things. And this is coming from someone who worked in the industry for a little while.
posted by emptythought at 1:28 PM on April 20, 2016


Uh, I think jimmythefish meant OD'd on adulterants, not the actual THC but I could be wrong. Anyway:

Probably less so than if you have relied on a completely black market (but trusted) supply in the past.

This implies that people have a good grasp of the supply chain for their stuff in a black market which is the opposite for almost all cases: black market supply chains are incredibly opaque by necessity. Even a greying of the market introduces some supply chain transparency which is what is needed for accountability in the rare case that something someone was sold at a dispensary harms them.
posted by griphus at 1:28 PM on April 20, 2016 [4 favorites]


If I were taking Tylenol Extra-Strength and it was plain Tylenol, that's going to have an effect.

The correct dose is just opening your mouth and having someone throwing a handful of it at you and seeing what sticks.

Also, on topic, it's 100% possible to drink Coke syrup until you go into DKA and die and yet you can pick that up at any Costco. Why the hell should someone who wants to smoke pot have to face some barriers because someone's an idiot.
posted by Talez at 1:29 PM on April 20, 2016 [2 favorites]


Uh, I think jimmythefish meant OD'd on adulterants

Ya and i think the people replying seemed to get that, it's just that's a thing that's never ever happened and is as silly as razor blades in candy bars on halloween.
posted by emptythought at 1:30 PM on April 20, 2016 [5 favorites]


on 20/4 next year.

20/4? What kind of animal are you? That is not how dates are written. YYYYMMDD: it's the (ISO date spec) law.
posted by five fresh fish at 1:30 PM on April 20, 2016 [5 favorites]


Because we have so, so many idiots.
posted by the uncomplicated soups of my childhood at 1:30 PM on April 20, 2016


There are some international treaties that Canada is party to that present some roadblocks, in terms of clarifying how the country will still meet obligations while also legalizing pot

I suspect it's a matter of them basically saying, “yeah, we're in violation of the treaty. Wanna make something of it?”. Perhaps they'll defer to polite hypocrisy and put a token figleaf on it, such as making marijuana technically illegal, except on days of the week ending in “y” or something, or perhaps the time for tiptoeing around the War On Drugs has passed.
posted by acb at 1:31 PM on April 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


Ya and i think the people replying seemed to get that, it's just that's a thing that's never ever happened and is as silly as razor blades in candy bars on halloween.

Intentional poisonings of consumer products are incredibly unlikely and probably irrelevant to this conversation but they're not made up of whole cloth. A bad actor is perfectly capable of doing this and, again, super-unlikely but considering the pushback legalization is getting (on all sides) a high-profile poisoning could mean a lot of things to a lot of people. It sounds like conspiracy-theory level paranoia even as I type this, but the huge amounts of money at stake regarding legalization means there's going to be a whole lot of unethical shit happening while the rules are up in the air.

Poisonings because people aren't paying attention to supply chains are also a small but existing risk (cw: pet death), but, again, greying of black markets is the thing to do to prevent this.
posted by griphus at 1:35 PM on April 20, 2016 [5 favorites]


Adding to what would need to be added to the bill is something about common dwellings and landlord-tenant stuff. I had neighbours for a while who smoked at home constantly. I'm totally fine with that and prefer that they smoke at home since it means they're not driving.

BUT...the smell would come out of their unit into the hallway and stink of the whole floor. That part I'm not ok with. I spoke to building management repeatedly about the need to A) Properly seal units so smells from inside units don't come into the hallway and B) Remind people that they shouldn't open their windows if they're smoking since this reverses the pressure differential between units/hallway and pushes the smell out into the hallway (and then into my unit!). The building didn't want to touch it because they'd be acknowledging people were doing something illegal which they wanted to pretend they didn't know. Still, I'm not hopeful that once its legal the building will suddenly take an enlightened attitude towards protecting the rest of us from second hand smoke and protecting our jointly owned property from stinking.

So, I would like the law to protect us. Require buildings to deal with smells in common areas and that allow landlords to prohibit smoking pot in a rental space, just like they can do with smoking tobacco.

It would be nice if people didn't smoke out on the street or in parks, too, but I'm not likely to win that one. All I want is for those of us who don't want to smoke to not have to smoke second-hand. Is that so much to ask?
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 1:38 PM on April 20, 2016 [6 favorites]


No, no, it's way better than that. The Canadian government actually announced it on 4/20!

Meanwhile, earlier today on Parliament Hill, the bells of The Peace Tower Carillon played the following songlist:
O Canada
Puff, the Magic Dragon, by Peter Yarrow
Imagine, by John Lennon
Daydream, by John Sebastian
Fly Away, by John Denver
Fly Me to the Moon, by Bart Howard
[edit] To the enjoyment of many.
posted by Kabanos at 1:41 PM on April 20, 2016 [13 favorites]


"Wait! Wait! Guys, stop! Get those hoverboards out of the window and put the vape signs back up! We only have to make it another year!" - Heard at every strip mall in Canada this afternoon.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 1:41 PM on April 20, 2016 [6 favorites]


LOL YES the sudden proliferation of e-cig stores juuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuust when pot's obviously about to be legal has been fucking hilarious to watch.

All I want is for those of us who don't want to smoke to not have to smoke second-hand. Is that so much to ask?

Not in the slightest. So for that purpose, putative legislation merely needs to code it as tobacco for XYZ purposes and as alcohol for ABC purposes and done. Funny thing, I think more Canadians would be worried about being kicked out of their apartments than we are about being arrested for pot, so at a wild-pulled-from-my-ass guess, I'd say you're going to be in a better position there.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 1:45 PM on April 20, 2016 [7 favorites]


If I were taking Tylenol Extra-Strength and it was plain Tylenol, that's going to have an effect.

Tylenol will nuke your liver. Pot literally cannot kill you.
posted by Dark Messiah at 1:51 PM on April 20, 2016 [2 favorites]


fffm, the building management actually advised me to call the cops, the first time I mentioned it. Obviously I'm not calling the cops since they'd either laugh at me or ruin someone's life. I don't know that the legalization will suddenly make the building management bother, though. There aren't really problems with tobacco smells on my floor, but other floors smell pretty badly of tobacco and I don't see the building doing anything about that. Or the people who smoke by the building entrances and throw cigarette butts out on the ground.

Tylenol will nuke your liver. Pot literally cannot kill you.

It can if you or someone else drives after using it, but that (at least the "you") part is easy enough to avoid.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 1:53 PM on April 20, 2016


There are plenty of dispensaries already established in Toronto (and I keep seeing new ones every week), so if all of those vape shops think they're going to flip over once it becomes legal, they might want to review their business plans.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 1:53 PM on April 20, 2016


Missed my second paragraph, so here it is. If there is any concern about the effects of marijuana, look it up. I'm not being flippant, but I can't phrase it another way: I do not suggest every consuming something without doing some cursory research. That way you don't end up going viral as a 9-11 caller thinking you're dying from The Weed.
posted by Dark Messiah at 1:54 PM on April 20, 2016


20/4? What kind of animal are you? That is not how dates are written. YYYYMMDD: it's the (ISO date spec) law.

Big-endian and little-endian dates are both fine. But people don't often say 2017, 4/20; they say 4/20, 2017, which takes us into the abhorrent nightmare of middle-endian dating. Just thinking about it makes me feel a bit sick.
posted by howfar at 1:55 PM on April 20, 2016 [8 favorites]


but other floors smell pretty badly of tobacco and I don't see the building doing anything about that

A) legal, b) probably not covered in the lease? I've had landlords who said no smoking in units and they were hardcore about it.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 1:56 PM on April 20, 2016


It can if you or someone else drives after using it, but that (at least the "you") part is easy enough to avoid.

That's a stretch which doesn't have much data to refute or support. (I have plenty of anecdata from observations. And no, I do not -- nor have I ever had -- a driver's licence.)
posted by Dark Messiah at 1:57 PM on April 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


There are plenty of dispensaries already established in Toronto (and I keep seeing new ones every week), so if all of those vape shops think they're going to flip over once it becomes legal, they might want to review their business plans.

Are dispensaries allowed to sell paraphernalia? A lot of vape equipment can switched from e-juice to whatever easily, which means they still have a market if dispensaries can't or don't want to stock the tech. And once markets start opening up and people have the option to vape extract/BHO/whatever instead of smoke grass (a choice that I think a lot of people would love to make) they'll be wanting the tech.
posted by griphus at 1:58 PM on April 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


That's a stretch which doesn't have much data to refute or support. (I have plenty of anecdata from observations. And no, I do not -- nor have I ever had -- a driver's licence.)

Pot slows reaction time and increases potential for distraction. DUI pot is just as bad as DUI alcohol--or DUI anything. What we don't have, and is the only rational roadblock I can see, is a solid roadside test for THC intoxication and serious research on what those levels are.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 2:00 PM on April 20, 2016


Also, a lot of vape shops operate as vape lounges, which means, depending on the local regulations loosening up, they might become a place you can hang out and vape whatever you want. It may very well turn into a liquor store/bar situation where there's a need and a market for both.
posted by griphus at 2:02 PM on April 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


Pot literally cannot kill you.

what if it's a really big bag of weed and it falls on me and i die
posted by poffin boffin at 2:05 PM on April 20, 2016 [33 favorites]


what if it's a really big bag of weed and it falls on me and i die

The LD50 of marijuana is one tonne, administered by gravity.
posted by acb at 2:06 PM on April 20, 2016 [22 favorites]


♪Space out,
In the Great Green North.
Space out,
It's a beauty way to go♫
posted by Splunge at 2:08 PM on April 20, 2016 [3 favorites]


FFFM touches on something that worries me about this. A cop pulls someone over, asks them to do a field sobriety check, says that they failed. They do not have alcohol in their system, but have consumed marijuana sometime in the past three days, so it does show up in the driver's urine. Are we suddenly going to have to start relying on cops interpretations of field sobriety tests to tell if someone was driving while high? And maybe if we have to do this, it won't quickly become a racist shitstorm that will basically make it so that if you are a PoC, you cannot consume any marijuana/derived products if you are planning on driving anytime in the next week. But I wouldn't count on it.

I'm not saying this as a counter to legalization. Not seeing kids get busted for half a roach that may or may not have actually been theirs is a really good thing. But I do think it's something that should be talked about ahead of time, instead of waiting for it to happen.
posted by Hactar at 2:11 PM on April 20, 2016 [3 favorites]


Don't forget that UN treaties are also agreed by the kind of nations who'd no more legalise pot as allow you to write a rude poem on Facebook about the government. They've got a serious hard-on for any repressive agreement that the West is on board with, so unwinding that shit is not going to be friction-free, especially while the West is still equivocal on the idea (try finding any official hint that the UK is inching towards chilling out here. Grr).

However, go Canada. I must pop over again - I've never done the left coast, and the pull of Vansterdam does not diminish....
posted by Devonian at 2:12 PM on April 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


A) legal, b) probably not covered in the lease?

Condo, so not leases. But anyway, I don't care if people smoke (pot or tobacco) in their units. Yes, tobacco is legal, but all the condo owners also have the right to enjoyment of the common areas, and when the common areas smell of tobacco, the building actually IS supposed to do something about that (I looked it up while researching the pot stink thing). But they don't. So when pot becomes legal (which again, I'm fine with), even if they make it like tobacco and the building is required to do something about the smell, I'm pretty sure they won't. So yeah, in principle this is fine by my, but in practice, I'm worried that everything around me is going to smell after it is.

And of course, neither smoking at building entrances nor littering is legal.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 2:15 PM on April 20, 2016


Legalize marijuana, ban cars. Problem solved.
posted by entropicamericana at 2:15 PM on April 20, 2016 [15 favorites]


The Best Coast is unspeakably beautiful, Devonian.

And yeah, Hactar. Which is why we need tests that can determine how much is currently in the bloodstream and what level impairs judgement, as we do with alcohol. Conveniently, such research has been hard to do.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 2:15 PM on April 20, 2016


I'm amazed there's no type of mouth swab or blood test to test road side sobriety.
posted by avalonian at 2:16 PM on April 20, 2016


Canada draws a lot of such research from the USA, AFAIK, which has been lets's say antagonistic to any research involving pot.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 2:18 PM on April 20, 2016


Here's Minister Philpott's full speech, if you're interested. Far more important, to me, is the announcement that more SIFs will be opened in Canada and her strong support for Insite.

The UNGASS is going on through the end of the week. There's a lot happening.
posted by gingerbeer at 2:19 PM on April 20, 2016 [3 favorites]


I don't understand why standard sobriety tests for reaction time, walking in a straight line, alphabet backwards, etc, aren't good enough for judging sobriety for marijuana? Does anyone know?
posted by agregoli at 2:21 PM on April 20, 2016


Agregoli, I think they'd be fine for establishing reasonable suspicion (or whatever), just not for proving intoxication. Usually those are precursors to breathalyzers or blood tests, I believe.
posted by avalonian at 2:24 PM on April 20, 2016 [2 favorites]


I don't understand why standard sobriety tests for reaction time, walking in a straight line, alphabet backwards, etc, aren't good enough for judging sobriety for marijuana? Does anyone know?

They're not good enough for judging alcohol either. The law about alcohol (and presumably any law about pot) is based on the amount of alcohol in your system. It's illegal to have more than .08 of your blood be alcohol when you're driving. It's not illegal to not be able to walk in a straight line. Not being able to walk in a straight line doesn't prove you're above .08 and being able to walk in a straight line doesn't prove you're not.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 2:26 PM on April 20, 2016 [4 favorites]


Got it. I've long known that one of the many reasons for pot prohibition is because they can't figure out a way to suss out intoxicated drivers from non.
posted by agregoli at 2:32 PM on April 20, 2016


A cop pulls someone over, asks them to do a field sobriety check, says that they failed. They do not have alcohol in their system, but have consumed marijuana sometime in the past three days, so it does show up in the driver's urine.

This is totally a valid concern, and problem that needs to be tackled. Yeah, there's companies working on the breathalizer equivalent for THC. The Atlantic has a good rundown of the hurdles that exist with the technology.
posted by furnace.heart at 2:33 PM on April 20, 2016 [4 favorites]


moar liek (Mary) Jane PhilPOTt amirite
posted by juv3nal at 2:36 PM on April 20, 2016


While I'm happy that this is finally happening, there's literally no reason why it needs to take so long. Class it the same as alcohol and all the other laws fall into place. Done.

Spoken like someone who hasnt spent much time in Canada. Ontario's alcohol restrictions are baffling to this American - the government distribution monopoly combined with the exclusive beer stores owned by massive brewers make for ridiculous prices and, in my opinion, a grossly inferior selection with such strict regulations that almost preclude small manufacturers from being able to crack into the market. It is totally unsurprising to me that a government that so poorly regulates booze would take a long time (and mess up) regulating pot.
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 2:42 PM on April 20, 2016 [4 favorites]


FFFM is a Torontonian, actually.
posted by Kitteh at 2:46 PM on April 20, 2016 [2 favorites]


Spoken like someone who hasnt spent much time in Canada.

Beg your pardon? In my 37.5 years on this earth, I have spent approximately 36.5 of them living in Canada, tyvm.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 2:53 PM on April 20, 2016 [5 favorites]


And the private sale of liquor is allowed in (some) Provinces other than Ontario. But the point stands —even once the Canadian federal government legalizes and regulates, I'm sure each Province is going to create their own bizarre laws and regulations. And a lot will have to do with maximizing government revenue. In Ontario for example, who knows if it will be sold by licensed dispensaries, or pharmacies, or the LCBO (government-run liquor stores), or a monopoly of private growers ("THE WEED STORE")? I mean it's only now, in 2016, that we're finally allowed to buy some brands of beers (just six-packs and singles mind you) in a whopping 60 grocery stores in the province.
posted by Kabanos at 2:54 PM on April 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


Don't judge all of Canada's liquor issues by Ontario's systems - plenty of other provinces have moved to different models that allow for fully private liquor stores (Alberta), sales of some products in grocery stores (BC, I think Quebec), microbreweries (all over the place out west, anyways), etc. Ontario (from this Albertan's perspective) is kind of a lumbering pre-historic beast on liquor regulations - but I remember the days when Alberta had a system where you had to go to the government store, place your order, and then some guy in the back would send it to the counter. Sometimes change comes slow.
(Although I was kind of shocked to learn on a visit to Ontario some years ago that you can't buy BC wines there, which seems overly protectionist).
posted by nubs at 2:56 PM on April 20, 2016


Not to mention that the LCBO brings in an enormous amount of money for the province every single day.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 2:56 PM on April 20, 2016


Pot literally cannot kill you.

Maybe not by smoking it, but if there's a will there's a way.

A guy who lived in my college dorm allegedly died from an OD of THC. This was back in the stone(d) age of the early 1970s. Word was he was using some chemical distillation method.

Now get off of my grass lawn.
posted by SteveInMaine at 2:58 PM on April 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


The LD50 of THC is so astronomically high that it's seriously unlikely that ever happened.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 3:00 PM on April 20, 2016 [9 favorites]


Not to mention that the LCBO brings in an enormous amount of money for the province every single day.

Well, this is ultimately what everything is going to come down to, right? How much tax and how does the government collect it. Even in "privatized" Alberta, the AGLC still exists, and has control over who can supply, who can sell, who can serve, who can brew/distill, and collects the government's cut from everything. So, I can see a big argument for using these already existing structures that manage distribution of a controlled substance and collect taxes on it to do the same for another controlled substance. The provinces differ on how liquor regulations are managed, but each one has a central authority.
posted by nubs at 3:07 PM on April 20, 2016


I knew a guy once who worked with someone whose room-mate's girlfriend allegedly took too much pot and died of cancer. You can't be too careful.
posted by Cookiebastard at 3:07 PM on April 20, 2016 [2 favorites]


Oh c'mon, what could be more accurate than college urban legends?
(Did you know that if you roommate commits suicide, they totally have to give you a 4.0 that semester, dude?)
posted by entropicamericana at 3:08 PM on April 20, 2016 [6 favorites]


Are we suddenly going to have to start relying on cops interpretations of field sobriety tests to tell if someone was driving while high?

Did you know there's no requirement to have any evidence of intoxication to arrest someone for "Public Intoxication?" It's literally based on "he was acting intoxicated." Now could someone with a decent lawyer get those charges thrown out? Probably. But those without means can't fight it.

I learned this when one of my mentally ill clients was arrested and did a few months in jail for public intoxication for acting weird in public.

So what I'm saying is the law is already pretty fucked up.
posted by threeturtles at 3:09 PM on April 20, 2016 [5 favorites]


i knew a guy who told me a friend of a friend once lit up a bowl of some really strong stuff and died instantly

well, it happened in an oil refinery, but it still counts, doesn't it?
posted by pyramid termite at 3:10 PM on April 20, 2016 [3 favorites]


A guy who lived in my college dorm allegedly died from an OD of THC. This was back in the stone(d) age of the early 1970s. Word was he was using some chemical distillation method.

Assuming this actually happened, he didn't "OD on THC," he drank a bunch of laboratory chemicals! Like, yeah, that'll do it
posted by showbiz_liz at 3:22 PM on April 20, 2016 [7 favorites]


Unless, of course, he distilled the THC from 1,500 pounds of weed and then ingested it all at once
posted by showbiz_liz at 3:24 PM on April 20, 2016 [4 favorites]


jet fuel can't light a bowl wake up sheeple
posted by poffin boffin at 3:25 PM on April 20, 2016 [8 favorites]


jet fuel can't light a bowl wake up sheeple

You know, one of the first things to make me laugh after 9/11 was this
posted by showbiz_liz at 3:28 PM on April 20, 2016 [10 favorites]


Not to mention that the LCBO brings in an enormous amount of money for the province every single day.


It's all worth it for the LCBO's magazine.
posted by srboisvert at 3:46 PM on April 20, 2016 [6 favorites]


I barely drink and pretty much never buy alcohol at the LCBO, but yeah, I stalk that place for the magazine. Now I'm worried the new pot stores will have a fantastic magazine and I'll never be able to read it because every issue will stink from having been in the store.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 3:52 PM on April 20, 2016


Word was he was using some chemical distillation method.

And when they opened the dorm room door, there was a HOOK HANGING OFF THE HANDLE!!!
posted by Celsius1414 at 3:57 PM on April 20, 2016 [3 favorites]


Notice a number of comments refer to cannibas as marijuana. Marijuana was the word the feds used to stigmatize weed as a Mexican drug that got those people chasing after our daughters
posted by Postroad at 4:11 PM on April 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


I'm all for legalization, but this grey area makes me uncomfortable.

The weird thing here in Toronto has been the recent profusion of medical dispensaries, to the extent that it's clearly an interim fig leaf pending legalization (i.e., if you're a recreational-only consumer, dispensaries Skype in a doctor to whom you tell you have chronic back pain or something, and they fax the dispensary a prescription). But until the federal government amends the Criminal Code in whatever way it decides to, it's retailers jockeying for position in a gold rush sort of way. If it ends up that Ontario says: "Okay, it's legal now - distribution is through the province a la LCBO," there will be a lot of dispensary owners stuck with leases and overhead.

It'll be interesting to see how it unfolds.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 4:37 PM on April 20, 2016


But, but, but, international law! Canada is a signatory to the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, which requires Canada to control the production of cannabis, limiting it to medical and scientific uses.

Why, it's almost like countries just ignore international law when they feel like it.
posted by jpe at 4:39 PM on April 20, 2016 [2 favorites]




once the Canadian federal government legalizes and regulates, I'm sure each Province is going to create their own bizarre laws and regulations. And a lot will have to do with maximizing government revenue.

Probably, but I'm fine with that. I'm okay with the governments making weird monopolies to sell alcohol and making a lot of money that way, and I'll be fine if they extend it to pot as well. This seems like a good way to (a) get more money without specific taxes and (b) ensure safety.
posted by jeather at 4:43 PM on April 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


In Canada, weed comes in bags.
posted by save alive nothing that breatheth at 4:49 PM on April 20, 2016 [12 favorites]


Why, it's almost like countries just ignore international law when they feel like it.

It's almost like some international laws are way, way more important than others, and ignoring this particular bit of backwards law will reduce pain and suffering instead of increasing it. Also ISTR some Greek dude saying something about the duty of citizens to ignore unjust laws. Criminalization of pot is absolutely unjust.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 4:53 PM on April 20, 2016


If Canada does thumb its nose at this law, what could the consequences be? I'm guessing if Nixon or Reagan was in the Whitehouse, the US could impose financial sanctions or bring force to bear in other ways, but Obama seems uninterested in doing so*. I'm guessing Canada's trade with Russia and Indonesia isn't high enough for them to worry about sanctions.

* Where does Clinton stand? She seems distinctly to the right of Obama, and almost like a Republican from before the prions ate the GOP's brain; could she revive the War On Drugs?
posted by acb at 5:00 PM on April 20, 2016


I'm pretty irritated that they announced this on 4/20. It is absolutely juvenile and unbefitting of a national government.

Cannabis shouldn't be legalized, it should be decriminalized completely. It is definitely the sort of product that is difficult to misproduce or taint. Legalization will only result in Diageo's charging whatever they like, fixing prices, etc.

There's also a troubling incentive for them to become like the tobacco industry of old. So we'd end up with shady conglomerates breeding the plant to produce alkaloids in amounts that might eventually be proven to be unhealthy. Remember that cannabis has hundreds of related alkaloids each with minor effects that contributes to the uniqueness of different strains. If they could lock down even one of those that adds addictive potential, they would, and they'd be too rich and influential by that point for us to stop them.
posted by constantinescharity at 5:02 PM on April 20, 2016


dw-nominate puts her quite a bit to Obama's left, actually.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 5:03 PM on April 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


As a side note it is really easy and quite fatal to overdose on Tylenol. Yet we don't really regulate it at all.
posted by humanfont at 5:09 PM on April 20, 2016 [4 favorites]


. Still, this is not legislation that needs a year to be prepared and then go through its readings and through the senate and Royal Assent. They could quite literally table legislation on Friday that covers everything and have it legal before Canada Day.

Good policy is not done like this. Good policy is done by consulting others who may be impacted by it - including provincial judicial systems with active cases/liquor control boards (or possibly private sector distributors who've said they would happily do this - privatization is an option), and international treaties/diplomats to consult to understand what ramifications if any there will be. There are tax distribution issues to be considered which are multi-jurisdictional. Provincial governments for years have criticized the federal government for shoving things down their throat without consultation or the ability to plan for it - and Trudeau promised that would change and the relationship with the provinces would be better.

Good policy development also takes into consideration the entire cabinet have collectively been at the helm for six months (i.e., are still learning the intricacies/minutiae of their portfolios) and the staff at the federal level have not been pursuing this issue at all for the better part of a decade. There are a whole host of issues that have been taboo for senior policy leaders for more or less their entire career that they're now speeding to try to become experts in.

It is better to do this right than to do this fast. "Pot is legal - have at it" would be shitty policy.
posted by scrittore at 5:14 PM on April 20, 2016 [2 favorites]


As a side note it is really easy and quite fatal to overdose on Tylenol. Yet we don't really regulate it at all.

What are you talking about? Of course tylenol is regulated. Here's a 24 page document discussing exactly what must appear on the label and where on the label. Here's a summary of the "Aceteminphen Report" that the government commissioned on how best to regulate aceteminiphen.

I, too, am wary of pot becoming the new tobacco and would prefer decriminalization to legalization, but legalization is probably better than the current situation.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 5:40 PM on April 20, 2016 [2 favorites]


Decrim is just the government saying "well, we refuse to regulate this product in any way, enjoy your protection-free grey market!" How is that better than legalization?
posted by showbiz_liz at 6:09 PM on April 20, 2016 [11 favorites]


Anyone who thinks HRC is going to come out in favor of renewing the drug war has truly been, as they say, smoking something.
posted by showbiz_liz at 6:11 PM on April 20, 2016


I'd be flabbergasted if staff had not been pursuing this issue at all for a long time.

And, it's not like multiple states haven't legalized pot, without the problems people in this thread are worried about.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 6:12 PM on April 20, 2016


There's also a troubling incentive for them to become like the tobacco industry of old. So we'd end up with shady conglomerates breeding the plant to produce alkaloids in amounts that might eventually be proven to be unhealthy.

And having less regulation would solve this problem?

(Decriminalisation, or semi-prohibition, or any system falling short of legalisation, is equivalent to absolute deregulation. If a market is illegal, or if recourse to the legal system is impossible, then where it cannot be suppressed (i.e., anywhere), it's basically the Wild West, and you get stuff like 4% cocaine cut with carcinogens, cracked software bundled with botnet clients, Mt. Gox, and so on.)
posted by acb at 6:20 PM on April 20, 2016 [4 favorites]


The thought that it would necessitate an industry is kind of odd to me. "Rich folks smoke Dokes?"

I'll grow my own, just don't threaten me with the judicial fist of god coming down on me and anyone who lives near me. I don't have any kids, I'm not that guy who likes to smoke up and drive around, and the idea of having kids around a grow makes me kind of sick. Just don't throw me in jail.

It's like the idea of the threat is greater than the threat itself.
posted by Sphinx at 6:35 PM on April 20, 2016


Cannabis shouldn't be legalized, it should be decriminalized completely. It is definitely the sort of product that is difficult to misproduce or taint.

I don't know about that. There are definitely questions about Shatter/Butane Hash Oils, for instance. And whats all in those edibles anyway? Who says?
posted by rodlymight at 7:22 PM on April 20, 2016


Yeah, ok, you've persuaded my anti-decriminalization people that I hadn't thought it through very well.

I guess fundamentally I think that ideally nobody would smoke (anything). It's not good for you; it smells; it makes garbage (ok that last one is entirely solveable but for some reason smokers feel like cigarettes are exempt from "Don't litter" and just refuse to solve it), for many things one could smoke it's addictive, and for many things one could smoke, it's intoxicating which can create all sorts of other problems.

Now I don't think "make everything smokable illegal" is the way to get to "ideally nobody should smoke." That will never work. We've made a lot of progress getting people off of tobacco and tobacco smoking rates are much lower than they once were. But it seems like somehow while tobacco smoking is stigmatized now, smoking pot isn't really -- it's still portrayed and viewed as cool and just-the-right-amount-of-rebellious. So I do worry that if you start being able to buy pot at the corner store where you can already buy cigarettes that next thing you know there will be people smoking pot outside the door of every restaurant, and my building will stink, and joints will be added to the litter at ever bus stop and subway entrance.

If I could magically make things happen however I want, I would make this legal in a way that A) regulates and B) Makes easier the lives of people who smoke pot yet somehow C) Does not increase the number of people who smoke pot. I do not actually know how to do this, though, so just regular legalizing is probably the closest we will come.

If you do smoke (anything) please don't stink up places other people need to be and don't litter. That is all.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 7:44 PM on April 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


I don't know about that. There are definitely questions about Shatter/Butane Hash Oils, for instance. And whats all in those edibles anyway? Who says?

I don't touch cannabis anymore since my brain doesn't like it. I think it should be legal. Drug prohibition is idiotic. But I gotta say...kids these days:

"Shatter" just sounds so not-mellow. And yeah, I know what it is and how it's made - I'm just talking about the name. Like why not call it "THC CRACK!" Or "CBD CRACK!" or whatever the cannabinoids are. Also, IIRC, CBD was the cannabinoid you wanted less of vs THC, but I don't think I understand anything about this anymore.

Anyway, why not just call it "Peace sheets" or "Chill panes" or "Relaxing crumble" or something?

Then again, it may have something to do with BEING SO FUCKING HIGH THEY'RE COMING FOR ME AND HOLY SHIT AM I HAVING A HEART ATTACK.

Crazy kids and their innovative THC extraction.

So maybe "Shatter" is the mot juste.

But yeah, alot of anti-smoking bylaws refer specifically to "carrying lit tobacco" and so forth and may need to be revised accordingly as part of the whole cascade of things that need to be considered as legalization happens.

Then, of course, there's what retail/taxation would look like, given provincial vagaries. The federal timeline on this seems reasonable if they're saying "We are actually doing this."
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 7:56 PM on April 20, 2016


IIRC the CFO of the Federal Liberal Party is also a C-class executive for one of the big commercial cannabis producers. It's all really quite shady. But typical of Canadian politics: thoroughly corrupt since day one.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:12 PM on April 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


If anyone is interested in chasing down some of these relationships, here's Health Canada's list of licenced "marihuana" (I shit you not) producers.

Now, some of these are public companies. Two of the companies on the above list, Tweed and Bedrocan, have merged and are now Canopy Growth Corporation.

Their directorships and corporate structure are public info. Canopy Growth (rather, Tweed as it then was) struck an endorsement deal with Snoop Dogg.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 8:37 PM on April 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


Cop: Do you know how fast you were going?

Stoned dude: No sir, not really.

Cop: Well it was almost 15 miles per hour.

Stoned dude: Oh heck, sorry.

Cop: Speed up a bit and be careful.

Stoned dude: I don't know, officer. I'm trying to be real careful.

Cop: Call someone to get your car. I'll drive you home.
posted by Splunge at 9:19 PM on April 20, 2016 [6 favorites]


Here we go. Starts pot biz, becomes CFO of Libs.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:06 PM on April 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


next thing you know there will be people smoking pot outside the door of every restaurant

I work in NYC and see this every day.

No one I know would throw any part of a joint on the ground as trash. But maybe that would change if it were easy to obtain.
posted by archimago at 5:21 AM on April 21, 2016 [1 favorite]


If it's illegal to smoke in public (aka outside) or in businesses, and if landlords can prohibit smoking on the premises, then legalization primarily promotes homeowners' rights and curtails renters' rights.
posted by Radiophonic Oddity at 5:36 AM on April 21, 2016


Nobody's mentioned any of the concerns over people with criminal records or currently serving time for drug-related offenses that would not have happened under this new approach. What happens to them? How do you separate the marijuana possession parts from the gun crimes, money laundering, and possession of harder drugs? Do we have to re-examine every single case? Can you apply for a review, or will it be automatic? Part of the long delay in this is figuring out those issues, and it's better not to rush this. I'm hoping the government does this right.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 5:57 AM on April 21, 2016 [1 favorite]


I'd be flabbergasted if staff had not been pursuing this issue at all for a long time.

You do remember our previous prime minister not only was dead against it, but also ran a ton of his policy direction/development through the PMO, right?

There has been a ton of talk since the election that the public service needs to be re-trained to provide good policy advice. That skill has been atrophied because the last decade was political operatives, and not senior policy people, doing the key policy work.
posted by scrittore at 6:02 AM on April 21, 2016


I agree, GhostintheMachine.

In Seattle a successful cannabis business is the regular target of protests by the local, formerly red-lined, community. One argument used by the protestors is that it shouldn't be near a church teen center (open 10 days per month), another is that there is already a liquor store across the street.

Yesterday was the first time I've noticed their group suggest a different choice, to free people from jail who were there because of marijuana. No discussion of how that should be implemented, unfortunately.

[Pastor] Witherspoon said he told Mayor Ed Murray that if a pot shop is allowed at the corner of 23rd Avenue and East Union Street, where African Americans were arrested for selling illegal weed, then the mayor "needs to let all the brothers and sisters go who are incarcerated for marijuana."
posted by Radiophonic Oddity at 6:11 AM on April 21, 2016 [1 favorite]


Also:

And, it's not like multiple states haven't legalized pot, without the problems people in this thread are worried about.

State autonomy is not the same as provincial autonomy. We can't copy/paste.

For one - if we treat production like agriculture, then who governs/licenses/inspects varies between the feds and the provinces in Canada. If we treat it like you're suggesting like alcohol, provinces will be responsible for developing licensure policies, red tape that ensures a quality product hits the market (and does not hinder production or distribution), and there are questions around who should get the revenue (either through fees, specific pot taxes similar to tobacco/alcohol, or just straight HST.) There are also questions around how we will treat medical marajuana licensure - if the provinces are now doing this work, the feds ought to transfer licensure for medical production to the provinces as well.

I can tell you that provincial health officials I have worked with were adamant that, if we legalized pot, we need the revenue to be earmarked specifically for health. Right now provinces have to scrape for cost-of-living increases, and there are huge capital backlogs, in addition to service deficiencies in areas like mental health, pharmacare, addictions, and in elder care. The previous government continually tried to balance its own books by shoving structural deficits on the provinces.

This is, other than a national carbon tax, the only foreseeable tax windfall coming in the near future and given its relationship to many health issues, it makes sense for this to be where more than COLA increases in health transfers come from. The provinces would be furious if the feds simply legalized this, took all the federal sales tax from it and/or all of a new tax on it, and did not work out an arrangement where the provinces get a piece of this pie.

Again - nine months after being elected (aka, July 1) is too fast to work out something that is complex in delivery and does not give the most logical party for doing the actual work of ensuring quality product and distribution - the provinces - any chance to figure this out ahead of time.
posted by scrittore at 6:11 AM on April 21, 2016


I'd be flabbergasted if staff had not been pursuing this issue at all for a long time.

You do remember our previous prime minister not only was dead against it, but also ran a ton of his policy direction/development through the PMO, right?


Yes. Trudeau made legalization of marijuana a (small) campaign platform. That he didn't have policy people working on it before the election is a ridiculous assertion. Or it says that he wasn't ready for the job.

I realize we can't just copy/paste, but we can look at what's been done elsewhere and translate. We're not starting from scratch.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 6:40 AM on April 21, 2016


That he didn't have policy people working on it before the election is a ridiculous assertion. Or it says that he wasn't ready for the job.

I don't know what it is that you do, but I bet the run up to expertise in it was longer than six months and I suspect getting the job of Attorney General for a first-time elected official like Jody Wilson-Raybould is a lot more complex - especially if you consider the previous owner of that job is not exactly mentoring you on it.

The expectations that the PM, or any elected officials, are day one ready with draft policy in their hands for everything they promised in the election is so far from my experience both on the policy and the political side that I think we're just going to have to agree to disagree on whether it's reasonable to expect great policy of this magnitude within a year of being elected.
posted by scrittore at 6:53 AM on April 21, 2016


That skill has been atrophied because the last decade was political operatives, and not senior policy people, doing the key policy work.

A very close friend of mine is very senior in the civil service, sometimes worked directly with Harper, but would politically be considered very left wing. There are a lot of very talented people high up, and while they have been taking orders from political operatives they're more than capable of putting together excellent work under any PM. I wouldn't be concerned about their skill level - the legislation will be as good as the government allows it to be.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 7:18 AM on April 21, 2016 [1 favorite]


I live in downtown Ottawa and the vast majority of my social circle are mid- or senior-level policy folks in various departments of government.

By no means is there a lack of talent (or federal service is filled with incredibly talented people - I meet 3-5 brilliant people work for the feds most weeks), however there are internal conferences, webinars, and working groups aiming at re-training policy people to not consider the political when giving advice. There were whole areas of departments that, up until the budget passed, had no clear direction as to the resources or people they might have to work with. There are chains of command being figured out on the fly as ministers and the PMO are not directing as much of the work.

I expect in the next year and beyond there are going to be some really incredible things coming out of a pent up public service, but there was a huge cultural exorcism needed that is really difficult, I think, for people outside of the service to fully understand the impact of.
posted by scrittore at 8:00 AM on April 21, 2016 [1 favorite]


I work in NYC and see this every day.

It made the Post.
posted by griphus at 8:01 AM on April 21, 2016


Yes, people smoke pot in front of buildings "all the time" in Toronto, too, but it's not like tobacco where if you walk through a restaurant district there are multiple people smoking in front of every restaurant all weekend long. There's all the time "I see this at least twice a day" and there's actual all the time, everywhere.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 8:06 AM on April 21, 2016 [1 favorite]


I was mildly annoyed to discover that Oregon doesn't allow recreational edibles. I am going to be up there later this year and had vague thoughts of giving them a try, because I don't smoke, but none for yoouuuuu!
posted by tavella at 8:58 AM on April 21, 2016


tavella, that will change sometime this summer. And if you visit before it does, just head over the Columbia to Vancouver, WA. Technically you're not supposed to bring the product back over the bridge into Oregon (crossing state lines and all that), but AFAIK absolutely nobody around here cares.
posted by vverse23 at 9:20 AM on April 21, 2016


They're not good enough for judging alcohol either. The law about alcohol (and presumably any law about pot) is based on the amount of alcohol in your system. It's illegal to have more than .08 of your blood be alcohol when you're driving. It's not illegal to not be able to walk in a straight line. Not being able to walk in a straight line doesn't prove you're above .08 and being able to walk in a straight line doesn't prove you're not.

This is not categorically true. In washington you can be under .08 or even not test and still get arrested for a DUI/DWI. Whether you'll be charged is another thing, but it's officers discretion.

So yea, sort of back to the first point of "why isn't a field sobriety test reasonable".

Do we need better solutions? Yea. Is the breathalyzer-is-objectively-it thing the be all end all of true throughout the country? No. You can get convicted of a DUI and have "passed" a breathalyzer in washington. And i think that's part of the reason we actually managed to legalize.
posted by emptythought at 10:29 AM on April 21, 2016




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