/ Canada's going legal

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Big Ger - on 30 Mar 2017
when will the UK?

> Canada’s government wants to tame by legalising cannabis during prime minister Justin Trudeau’s first term in office. Laws that will legalise cannabis for recreational use will be announced in the week of 10 April, and will be passed by July 2018, say government sources, making Canada the first G7 country to do so.

I must say that working in my field, I have some reservations on legalisation, but I still think the harm of criminalising it far outweigh the risks.
1
David Martin - on 30 Mar 2017
In reply to Big Ger:

Great news. Whatever the risks, they are likely to be substantially lessened under a regime of regulation rather than ilegality. Not to mention the knock-on impacts on crime.

Theresa May has made her views abundantly clear on the issue. Whatever the scientific or social policy research says in favour of legalisation, she has absolutely no willingness to do so and will resist at all cost. Such is the new, forward-looking, worldly Great Britain she embodies.
ianstevens - on 30 Mar 2017
In reply to David Martin:

> Great news. Whatever the risks, they are likely to be substantially lessened under a regime of regulation rather than ilegality. Not to mention the knock-on impacts on crime.

Exactly - good for them.

Theresa May has made her views abundantly clear on the issue. Whatever the scientific or social policy research says in favour of legalisation, she has absolutely no willingness to do so and will resist at all cost. Such is the new, forward-looking, worldly Great Britain she embodies.

The only way this would happen in the UK is if people stopped reading the Daily Mail et al. But of course it's acceptable morally and socially to down 12 beers on a Saturday night.
pasbury on 30 Mar 2017
In reply to David Martin:

The tory party is full of people who've never smoked a doobie - just think of that!
2
Toerag - on 30 Mar 2017
In reply to Big Ger:

The problem is the long-term effects of modern cannabis strains are uncertain. Given that cannabis has been proven to cause psychosis the results of legalising cannabis could result in massive mental health problems down the line for society. If the well-known relatively weak strains known not to have an effect on mental heath were legalised then fair enough.
3
Ramblin dave - on 30 Mar 2017
In reply to Big Ger:

If I shared a border with Trumponia, I'd probably want a spliff to take my mind off it too.
baron - on 30 Mar 2017
In reply to Big Ger:

Except it won't be legal for everybody, will it?
I'm guessing that there'll be a lower age limit.
So older people, who are generally mature enough to make their own choices will be using legally while youngsters, where many of the problems/issues are, will still be using illegally.
Legalising seems like an answer but sidesteps many of the well known issues with cannabis.
But I think you know this already?
2
elsewhere on 30 Mar 2017
In reply to Toerag:
An argument for legalisation and regulation so the buyer knows what they're getting?

You can always expect unintended consequences, but unless there is a massive increase in consumption you wouldn't expect a massive increase in mental health problems.

Soon there will be plenty of evidence from Oregon etc about what really happens.
Post edited at 12:05
David Martin - on 30 Mar 2017
In reply to Toerag:

When the market is an illegal market, those running the market have an incentive to produce stronger strains - denser potency.

There is no evidence to indicate legalised cannabis will result in more use or an environment where problematic mental health issues would be more likely. I'd argue the opposite is the case; access to support, less stygma, reduced fear from prosecution, and de-glorifying a rebelious act can only reduce rather than increase harm.
Lord of Starkness - on 30 Mar 2017
In reply to David Martin:

I'm surprised that th egovernment has missed a trick when it comes to raising taxes. - After all, as it's becoming more socially unacceptable to smoke tobacco products, the tax take must be falling.

If weed is legalised it can be taxed or people can apply for licences to 'grow their own for strictly personal use'. Take the cultivation and supply out of the hands of the criminals - and strictly regulate the 'strength' that can be sold.

If it is legalised, then harsh penalties - zero tolerance - must be introduced simultaneously for 'driving whilst under the influence of weed'.

From what my daughter in BC tells me, the Canadian government has widespread support for the measure. (It is apparently one of BC's largest horticultural crops - and most of her neighbours in their fairly remote rural community have a few plants on the go all year round). The mounties generally turn a blind eye, however do jump down pretty hard on anyone found to have more than can be considered appropriate for personal use.
summo on 30 Mar 2017
In reply to David Martin:
> There is no evidence to indicate legalised cannabis will result in more use or an environment where problematic mental health issues would be more likely

It's a question of do you use something that doesn't have 100% proof or evidence of doing you harm, or something that is proven to be safe. They are different things and Canada has embarked on the former.

The jury is out, but it's good of Canada to be the world's guinea pig, now all we need is totally clean country and a country that will smoke something but not know what it is. Then come back in 30years. All whole nation in a double blind test (almost, as everyone knows Canada will be the users)
Post edited at 12:35
NottsRich on 30 Mar 2017
In reply to David Martin:

> Great news. Whatever the risks, they are likely to be substantially lessened under a regime of regulation rather than ilegality.

Cannabis has risks, we all know that. So why is legalising it better? Is it to do with have it supplied from regulated 'farms' and then being of a known quality?

1
David Martin - on 30 Mar 2017
In reply to NottsRich:

That is part of it.

Of greater importance though is not criminalising people who smoke. We don't do it for drinkers or tobacco smokers, why do it for pot? This just creates a likelihood of those who are suffering ill effects to not report it or not seek help.
Offwidth - on 30 Mar 2017
In reply to NottsRich:
It also has many known health benefits. Then thare are massive tax and other economic benefits, removal of illicit trade and profit from organised crime, improved focus of the police and courts on more serious issues, makes users more likley to be honest and deal with related heath problems......

I can't see anyone legalising skunk without very tight controls with its known links with serious mental health problems.
Post edited at 13:50
dread-i - on 30 Mar 2017
In reply to NottsRich:

>So why is legalising it better? Is it to do with have it supplied from regulated 'farms' and then being of a known quality?

It removes the link with criminality. Dealers might have other wares on offer, so reduces the potential gateway effect.
The Dutch coffee shops have menu's and tasting notes, or so I've been told. They sell different strains based on flavor and effect, rather than 'it will get you proper sh*t faced, real quick'.

Coffee shops have been tried in the UK.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/2148590.stm

A friend with MS used to go. They weren't exactly low profile either. Every now and again a Euro MP would march to Stockport police station and demand to be arrested. Then get quite upset when they were refused.
Pursued by a bear - on 30 Mar 2017
In reply to elsewhere:

> Soon there will be plenty of evidence from Oregon etc about what really happens.

I was in Bend, Oregon (strange name, nice place) for a couple of days last year and on one of them there was a market-style affair in one of the town's squares at which the local spliff shop had a stand. We got to talking, as you do, and subsequently I was so curious that I popped into their shop; I think it was called Oregrown, or something similar.

And I was very impressed. Check on age, through passport or driving licence or similar photoID, then a wait in a room full of perfectly ordinary people of a span of ages from mid-twenties to late sixties, with a menu of what was on offer saying what percentages of THC and CBD different things contained. We were then called into a larger back room where someone met us and we were shown what was offer and how it could be consumed or used, how much of it we could buy at one visit and how much it cost. As I have MS I discussed this with the person who'd met us and he talked us through what the different things might do for it. It was all professionally organised with knowlegable staff offering clear guidance on a range of different options.

Of course we bought something, a small bar of chewy toffee which we were advised to eat no more than a quarter of at any one time. And the evening afterwards was rather amusing in a very silly laugh-at-anything way, as was a further one later that week.

The law in Oregon forbids the use of cannabis in public places and as we were walking round a pleasant bit of parkland by the river the following day, a young man lit up a joint. He'd gone no more than a few yards when someone in uniform told him to put it out, which he did without complaint.

It all seemed well controlled to me, at least on the surface. My argument against legalisation in the UK is that most cannabis is smoked and whilst cannabis may not be a gateway drug to harder things, it is very often a gateway drug to smoking. The availabilty in Oregon of a wide range of products that didn't need to be smoked (as well as many others that did, I should add) shows that there's an argument to be made against the smoking issue.

So I was rather impressed with what I saw in Oregon. It will be very interesting to see what the longer-term effects of legalisation are there.

T.
Timmd on 30 Mar 2017
In reply to Pursued by a bear:

If education could be improved along side legalisation that would be good. Being (just) into my late 30's now, the drug education I got during the 90's was appalling, and all I got from other pot smokers was that it's harmless, in the long term that wasn't helpful advice.
Mike Rhodes - on 30 Mar 2017
In reply to Big Ger:

Let's hope that they improve their "drug driving check" technology. I personally don't give a fig who uses cannabis but having seen the effect it has on Spanish skiers in our village I can just imagine how they would drive their cars. Anyone know if the drug stays in the bodies system for a longer period than alcohol.
Bimble on 30 Mar 2017
In reply to Mike Rhodes:

> . Anyone know if the drug stays in the bodies system for a longer period than alcohol.

The residual traces stay detectable for ages. However, having a smoke at night then driving to work the next morning is in no way comparable to driving still drunk from the night before.

And fair play to Canada, its about time common sense instead of knee-jerk idiocy was used to decide drug policy.
Jim Hamilton - on 30 Mar 2017
In reply to Mike Rhodes:

> Anyone know if the drug stays in the bodies system for a longer period than alcohol.

48 days in the hair - according to school drug talk! and a driver can be done even if the other car occupants were the ones smoking, apparently.
Big Ger - on 30 Mar 2017
In reply to pasbury:

> The tory party is full of people who've never smoked a doobie - just think of that!

Not true, even if you are being facetious, some have openly admitted it.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_British_politicians_who_have_acknowledged_cannabis_use#During_...
Big Ger - on 30 Mar 2017
In reply to Toerag:

> The problem is the long-term effects of modern cannabis strains are uncertain. Given that cannabis has been proven to cause psychosis the results of legalising cannabis could result in massive mental health problems down the line for society. If the well-known relatively weak strains known not to have an effect on mental heath were legalised then fair enough.

Tell me about it!! I've worked in the front line of treating psychosis and schizophrenia for the past 14 years, hence my caveat in the OP.

I will pull you up on one point; it's not been proven to "cause" psychosis, but has been implicated in bringing out a latent psychosis, and exacerbating an existing illness.

SenzuBean - on 31 Mar 2017
In reply to Big Ger:

> I will pull you up on one point; it's not been proven to "cause" psychosis, but has been implicated in bringing out a latent psychosis, and exacerbating an existing illness.

Furthermore, I was pretty sure (before I lost my access to quality research) the data that existed correlated just as strongly with alcohol causing psychosis.

Also some reports indicate that alcohol is implicated directly in 1/3 of emergency room accidents. The data for cannabis (at least in the US for the last few years) has been collected inaccurately - any emergency room admission, as long as the visitor mentions their usage of cannabis (even if it has no relation to the reason for admission) - will be tallied under 'cannabis' (as well as under whatever else they mention), which makes it look far worse than it is liikely to be. There was another report saying that certain chronic alcoholics cost the healthcare system a lot of money too.
I'm fairly confident that marijuana becoming legal will actually reduce the total strain on the emergency services due to reducing demand for alcohol.

Lastly - clearly there seems to be demand here. I smell marijuana at least once a day here in Vancouver. In London, I think it was about once every 6-8 weeks!
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Big Ger - on 31 Mar 2017
In reply to SenzuBean:

> Furthermore, I was pretty sure (before I lost my access to quality research) the data that existed correlated just as strongly with alcohol causing psychosis. alcoholics cost the healthcare system a lot of money too.

I've not read any, or had clinical experience of, where that would be the case.

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