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Have you ever really looked at your hand?


 

Bruce Cheadle harshes the buzz on legalizing marijuana.

Among the questions policy-makers must ask: What sort of branding, if any, and packaging would be permitted? What would the age limit be for consumption? Who would be permitted to grow marijuana, and in what quantities? Would only licensed growers be allowed to produce pot? What would be the distribution point, public or private enterprise? Would there be volume limits on individual purchases, unlike alcohol and tobacco? A tax rate would be required that is high enough to discourage consumption but low enough to deter the black market from undercutting legal sales — a balancing act tobacco regulators continue to juggle.  How would Canada manage crucial border issues with a prohibitionist United States?


 

Have you ever really looked at your hand?

  1. All good questions and well worth asking.  But we’re perfectly capable of developing a regulatory system to answer them. 

  2. Obviously, the only way forward is to promote, “Grow Your Own”.  The House and Home sections of the newspapers can contribute articles like, “Growing Pot in a Pot”.

    • I think there was some thought behind the maximum six plant, home-grown rule/law.

      I envision Marc Emery (believe he is up for parole within a year) jumping on the band-wagon as long as he doesn’t sell in the USA, lol

  3. If we can regulate, tax and sell cigs and alcohol…we won’t have any problem with pot.

    It’s not like we haven’t done this before.  LOL

  4. Government already distribute two drugs – alcohol, cigs – so I am kinda confident it’s not beyond bureaucracies ken to figure out how to distribute a third one. 

    I be amazed if we legalize ganja in next decade or two. Canadian governments ban things – it seems like at least once a week schools are banning bottled water or halloween costumes or whatever this week – but Government is going to allow drugs? Not likely, is all I can say. Best to hope for is decriminalizing possession of an ounce or two and that’s about it.

    Can we argue that our charter rights to be hippies are being squashed by scared reactionaries in Government? 

    Technohead ~ I Wanna Be A Hippy:

    I want to be a hippie…
    I want to be a hippie…
    I want to be a hippie and I want to get stoned.
    I want to be a wonder way guy to leave home.
    I want to be a hippie and I want to get stoned.
    I want to be a wonder way guy to leave home.
    I want to get high…
    I want to get high…
    I want to get high…
    But I never knew why.

  5. Okay, yes, not funding criminals and terrorists requires work and it can be hard.

    Trust the Conservatives to say “oh, well then, never mind”

  6. Finally some grown-up talk!

  7. It’s not the most complex thing in the world..

    —————————-

    Q — What sort of branding, if any, and packaging would be permitted?

    A – I’d follow the guidelines already in place for cigarettes on packaging – obviously the stats would need to be tweaked for marijuana vs processed tobacco and it may take a while for HealthCanada to come up with solid stats but the rough frame is already there. Advertising/branding has the potential to be like the alcohol industry, but hey we could restrict it like tobacco. There’s two options to look at there.

    Q — What would the age limit be for consumption?

    A – That’s for the provinces to decide, but I assume they’d go with the same age that they allow the purchase of tobacco/liquor.

    Q— Who would be permitted to grow marijuana, and in what quantities? Would only licensed growers be allowed to produce pot?

    A – If marijuana were legalized, it would probably have large producers of the product like the current tobacco/liquor industry does and they would likely need licenses, pay a different tax scale and many other similar actions like those groups. In terms of “hobbyists’, I know that you can legally produce a certain quantity of beer or wine before it becomes illegal, and the same could theoretically apply to small-scale marijuana grow hobbyists. The police could still use tactics they currently use to catch large-scale illegal grow-ops once the product is legalized.

    Q — What would be the distribution point, public or private enterprise?

    A – Again, we could have a system like the one currently set up for alcohol. The distribution network (the liquor stores) could directly sell the marijuana – you could pick up your ‘snazzy jazzy’ or ‘aquamarine dream’ or whatever. The current headshop system could still operate, providing items similar to how beer/wine hobby stores operate – selling pipes, papers literature, etc – perhaps a licensing system could be created like the one for alcohol to permit the sale of small quantities of marijuana like a bar (but maybe that’s getting too deep into the subject).

    Q — Would there be volume limits on individual purchases, unlike alcohol and tobacco?

    A – I would hope not – you can’t die from over-consumption of weed in an evening, unlike if you drink two 26’s of rum or a 60 of whisky. If government proposed an arbitrary limit, however, if it’s within reason I wouldn’t object – I’d rather have the state collect the taxes/profits versus the black market.

    Q — A tax rate would be required that is high enough to
    discourage consumption but low enough to deter the black market from
    undercutting legal sales — a balancing act tobacco regulators continue
    to juggle.

    A – But it’s not impossible, or else tobacco/liquor corps would have gone out of business long ago. How do they do it? Should the marijuana industry follow their lead? The current price of black-market marijuana could be said to be over-inflated at the moment anyway, legal production would probably vastly undercut the black market’s price, driving more money out of the hands of criminal elements. Sure, they’ll need to juggle, but two other industries make it work.

    Q — How would Canada manage crucial border issues with a prohibitionist United States?

    A – This is the most difficult question of the lot, but I’d wager the US (who is in charge of allowing people entry into the United States) would beef up its northern border. This is happening already, though, without the incentive of people ferrying weed cross-border. If marijuana *was* legalized, I could see it being painted as the reason of ‘border thickening’ with the US, while it actually occurs for a myriad of reasons. However, it’s currently illegal to try and smuggle it into the US currently and I doubt their current practices would alter – just increase in volume. We could then, conceivably (to aid our southern neighbour), focus a portion of our own enforcement on our border – we would then seize smugglers and black marketeers.

    —————————–

    I’m not sure why this is being portrayed as some daunting, ceaseless piece of rigmarole which will create a thousand headaches. Canadians have an appetite for marijuana, the provinces and the feds are all scrambling for new revenue streams and there are models to work with in existence for the distribution of controlled substances.

    • Upon second reading, I don’t mean to imply that liquor stores would be the distribution point for marijuana, but a store similar to those like provincially run “Liquor” or “Beer” stores could be operated.

    • In terms of ‘hobbyists’, I know that you can legally produce a certain quantity of beer or wine before it becomes illegal, and the same could theoretically apply to small-scale marijuana grow hobbyists

      However, there wouldn’t have to be a limit necessarily, I don’t think.  I can only produce a certain amount of beer or wine myself perhaps, but I believe that I could plant as much tobacco in my backyard as I like, could I not?.


  8. How would Canada manage crucial border issues with a prohibitionist United States? 

    I realize that the U.S. wouldn’t necessarily see it this way, but ironically, legalizing marijuana in Canada could very well DECREASE the amount of pot being moved across the border from here to the U.S. 

    For example, I for one wouldn’t have a problem with making the attempted export of pot a crime with a quite harsh sentence.  Also, a reasonable limit on the amount that one can posses/grow, while not necessary from a public health or other domestic standpoint, could certainly be enacted as a means of countering export to the U.S., and again, if Canadians feel that their freedoms are being protected (i.e. the amounts that one can legally possess/grow in Canada aren’t unreasonable small) I think even some of the most vociferous legalization advocates could be convinced to get behind the idea of making the penalties for exceeding those limits much harsher, with an eye to ensuring that our different domestic laws don’t impinge unduly on the prerogative of our neighbours to live under different laws.

    So long as average Canadians can legally grow and posses the stuff within reasonable limits, I think most Canadians would also support (or could be convinced to support) cracking down on those who violate said limits EVEN HARDER than we are now.  If pot were legal, I don’t think anyone would have a problem with a harsh crackdown on criminal organizations using our different laws in order to violate U.S. law.  We should support the U.S. in their efforts to keep legal Canadian pot from becoming illegal American pot.  If nothing else, it could help with tourism, lol.

    • How would Canada manage crucial border issues with a prohibitionist United States? 

      New Age, South Africa ~ Jan 19 2012 ~ Herbal Medicine: 

      California is one of the few American states that has legalised medical marijuana – even though cannabis itself remains federally illegal. 

      Considering marijuana is still fairly taboo in South Africa, while visiting Los Angeles earlier this year I was amazed to find that I met more people who smoked weed than people who smoked cigarettes. Many of these were perfectly healthy but all were smoking medical marijuana at their leisure. 

      In the city of LA alone, there are about 500 dispensaries or pharmacies, all easily identifiable by their green cross. They have names like Euphoric Care Givers or Mary Jane Collectives.

      The catch is that you need to be a local citizen and provide some kind of California identification to qualify for an evaluation – so I was well aware that access would be impossible as a foreigner. The only way to get any kind of high-grade weed was through the generosity of friends.

      One sunny day, while strolling along the boardwalk of Venice Beach, I was stopped by a young man suggesting I step into the “doctor’s” office for an evaluation. A huge sign titled Medical Marijuana Doctor was plastered on the store front. When I mentioned that I wasn’t from California, he said, “Just step in anyway.”

      • I think we’d still have to address American concerns though (I’d like to hope it wouldn’t be difficult however). After all, it’s not like we’re only dealing with California. Under another President I could see the DEA cracking down hard on what’s going on in Cali.

        I think your comment certainly illustrates though that addressing American concerns might not be as high a bar as some people think.

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