Canada legalizes recreational cannabis this month, and while most people are very excited and understandably so, some have concerns over what full legalization will mean for Canada and its provinces. Will there be any negative side effects of Canada’s new legal market? What are some possible consequences?
What Will Come of Medical Cannabis?
Medical cannabis patients, doctors and caregivers are concerned about what will come of the medical cannabis market once the recreational market is up and running. Medical cannabis has been legal in Canada since 2000. Since then, the Canadian medical cannabis program has undergone a number of changes.
Patients are worried that improvements to the Canadian market will fall by the wayside in favor of strengthening the recreational market. Canada’s recreational market is expected to break records across the board and become a dominant force in the world’s economy. With so many investors pouring money into the recreational market, one can easily imagine the medical one being left behind.
States in the US that have both recreational and medical markets have seen medical sales drop off (while still remaining high) since legalizing recreational. Will this happen in Canada too? The US and Canada are pretty similar, but there is one major difference: nationalized healthcare. Healthcare in Canada is nationalized, as opposed to in the US, which means a lot more people are going to a doctor regularly. In the US most people are not going to a doctor regularly and instead are buying the cannabis they use medicinally on the recreational market. Since people are regularly visiting the doctor in Canada, you can expect to see different results here.
Canada will have a Probable Increase in Emergency Room Visits
After recreational cannabis was first legalized in Colorado, there was a sharp increase in the number of emergency room visits, but those numbers evened out pretty quickly once people more or less got used to having recreational cannabis widely available. The thing to keep in mind is that these emergency room visits are not deadly. Cannabis has never killed anyone.
A lot of people who have never tried cannabis are going to be trying it for the first time. They will likely end up eating too much of an edible, or trying something a little too potent, like concentrates for example. As a result they may not be able to keep a cool head about them and will think they need to go to the hospital because they are “overdosing.” It’s important to remember that this is to be expected and that these numbers will level off as time goes on. Remember that if you live with small children, or frequently have them over, to keep your edibles out of reach of children, preferably locked up somewhere.
Will the US Ban Canadians Who Work in the Cannabis Industry?
The US announced in September that they would bar Canadian people employed in the cannabis industry from visiting the US. This lead a lot of cannabis workers to wonder whether or not they would be permanently banned. The reasoning behind the ban was pretty ridiculous. The CPB (US Customs and Border Protection) said last month, “as marijuana continues to be a controlled substance under United States law, working in or facilitating the proliferation of the legal marijuana industry in U.S. states where it is deemed legal or Canada may affect admissibility to the U.S.” Basically, you’re corrupting the good people of the US by choosing to work in such an industry.
Thankfully, it looks as though this proposed ban will not be taking place after all, as Global News reported last week. The CPB updated this statement to read, “a Canadian citizen working in or facilitating the proliferation of the legal marijuana industry in Canada, coming to the U.S. for reasons unrelated to the marijuana industry will generally be admissible to the U.S.”
What does Canadian legalization mean for the future of cannabis? Find out in Part 3!
Read Part 1 here!
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