Editorial: Why all the fuss?

Don’t worry, be happy about pot legalization

The upcoming legalization of pot seems to have many sectors of our society, from police services to individuals, in a tizzy.

They’re concerned about how legalization of cannabis is going to change society, issues with its use and abuse and more.

But honestly, what is going to change? It’s not like pot has ever been unavailable in Canada. Remember when B.C. Bud used to be one of the most desired ‘brands’? It still is, apparently. (And we’re not talking about Canadian-brewed Budweiser beer, folks.)

Like alcohol, cannabis — along with all its benefits and problems — has been with us for a very long time. Legalizing cannabis won’t make it any more accessible to under-19 age group, for example. They don’t seem to have any problem obtaining pot right now.

Nor, come Oct. 17, are all Canadians suddenly going to rush out to buy their 30 grams and immediately turn into full-time stoners. Cannabis may still be illegal, but there are few real-world restrictions on its use.

It’s not like someone was introducing a totally new, unfamiliar product into mainstream markets.

And there may be positive changes. Depending on pricing, taxes and distribution models, we can hope that legal pot is going to prove to be stiff competition for the street dealers. Hopefully, fewer grow-ops as well, allowing police to turn their attention to other pressing matters, and fewer rental homes destroyed.

Speaking of taxes, let’s not forget about the value of dragging this underground economy into the daylight and taxing it. That is going to be a lot of cash flowing into the economy and tax dollars into provincial and federal coffers.

Legalizing cannabis is really just recognizing a situation that existed long before Justin Trudeau made it an election promise. Regulation is likely to solve more problems than introducing new ones.

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