For Canadians who already used marijuana, not much will change with legalization. (files)

News Views: New leaf

Some warn recreational cannabis use will increase now.

The recreational use of cannabis is now legal in Canada, and as the second country in the world to do so after Uruguay, setting an example for others.

Some warn recreational cannabis use will increase now, as businesses do what they do – look for new revenue streams to grow.

And that may come in time, with the introduction of marijuana-infused edibles and beverages, with THC or CBD. Both are active chemical ingredients, but only the former gets you high. The other is meant to have a calming effect, with anti-anxiety properties.

But legalization doesn’t guarantee that consumption will increase.

According to Statistics Canada, 4.9 million residents consumed $5.7-billion worth of cannabis – medical and non-medical – last year.

Canadians have been using marijuana, in various forms, long before Oct. 17. So they didn’t need a change in law to prompt them to do so.

What’s changed? Canadians may or may not choose, for now, to purchase cannabis – produced by licensed manufacturers – from government-run stores, of which there is one in B.C., in Kamloops, or online, to be delivered by Canada Post.

Or, instead, by whatever method is most convenient, possibly the same as before, through an illegal dealer, for which doing so proposed minimal legal risks.

Legalization amounts mainly to a tax grab for the federal government – taking billions of dollars annually away from the black market.

It also ends nonsensical arrests for possession of minor amounts of cannabis for personal consumption.

Economic spinoffs also exist, such as job creation and investment opportunities.

So there is much good to come from legalization.

Domestic issues, such as dealing with youth or drivers who consume, will be addressed in time.

But for those who already used, not much will change. They were trailblazers in proving the scope of relatively safe consumption, which led to this historic day.

Canada has turned over a new leaf.

– Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows News

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