Editorial: Legalization means rules

Legal doesn’t mean light up whenever you want

Ever since, and probably long before, the federal Liberals started the process to legalize marijuana, some people have been equating legalization with deregulation.

That was never in the cards. Saying ‘But it’s legal now, mannnnnnn,’ after blowing smoke in a cop’s face isn’t going to carry much weight as he confiscates your joint or outfits you with a pair of pretty silver bracelets.

Related: Puff, puff past the accident and get arrested in Penticton

The announcement this week that B.C.’s Liquor Distribution branch will have responsibility for distribution of non-medical marijuana shouldn’t have come as a surprise, though it seems it did for many.

Regardless of whatever unproven medical benefits cannabis might have it is still, like alcohol, a mind-altering drug. So using an established framework and distribution system for controlled substances only makes sense.

Related: As pot becomes legal, parallels drawn to the waning days of alcohol prohibition

When it comes to medical cannabis use, again, don’t be surprised when the government directs that to another established distribution network: pharmacies.

You were never going to be able to light up at work, in someone else’s home without permission or while walking down the street, anymore than it would be acceptable to crack open a beer in those situations.

Here’s another myth to be shot down. Legal pot isn’t going to be cheap. The province isn’t likely to tax pot as heavily as cigarettes — unless they really want to keep the street dealers employed — but taxes there will be and the now legal growers, most likely big corporations, are going to want their share too.

People have used “medicinal” for as an excuse for so long that many people believe it, but once it’s legal, suppliers will no longer be able to make unfounded claims — they’ll have to prove it to Health Canada.

Legalizing cannabis is a good thing, but it also means major limitations on the current freewheeling production, supply and distribution of the drug.

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