The legalization of recreational marijuana is only days away in Canada. This grand experiment will draw the attention of the world. While legalization may seem like a small innovation amongst the monumental scale of world history, its effects will, in fact, be sweeping.
Marijuana legalization will be transformative. With this step, Canada is poised to change the world and its standing within it. Here’s how:
Canada will become the true leader of the free world
With legalization, Canada will have a more legitimate claim to the title of “leader of the free world.” Most simply, legalization will give citizens and residents of Canada more freedom than their American counterparts.
But it’s more than that, too. Legalization will undermine the costly and unethical “War on Drugs,” which has dominated American foreign and domestic policy for decades. Indeed, the War on Drugs is the centrepiece of American imperialism.
Through this “war,” the U.S. has militarized its law enforcement agencies, ravaged communities in Latin America, installed and supported corrupt regimes, and fostered cartel violence. The U.S. has used drugs as an excuse to carry out military incursions and maintain its political and economic grip on countries in Central America.
The War on Drugs also bolsters white supremacy. Despite the fact that the vast majority of drug users and sellers are white, most of the people incarcerated for drug-related offenses, especially those involving marijuana, are men of colour.
By legalizing recreational cannabis, Canada effectively releases itself of this baggage and rejects those inhumane American tactics. Of course, white supremacy still persists in Canada. But an end to marijuana criminalization is a huge step forward.
Legalization will, by contrast, cast U.S. drug policy, and the whole drug inforcement political and economic complex, as an antiquated system.
Legalization undermines Donald Trump
Legalization is a slap in the face for Donald Trump. While his adinistration continues to view cannabis with intense skepticism and works to enforce unsustainable (and, frankly, ridiculous) policies, Canada will be watching with righteous, smug satisfaction from just over the border.
Moreover, U.S. officials will have to dedicate more resources to enforce drug policies at customs sites and the Canadian border. That will ultimately prove to be a huge waste of money.
In short, legalization in Canada will provide just one more example of what Trump is doing wrong. He will not be able to stand that.
Canada is pointing out American hypocrisy and division
While Americans continue to engage in dramatic debates about the merit of cannabis legalization, Canada will move decisively forward.
In the United States, disagreements about marijuana fall along party lines. The issue only reinforces the current American political divide and exacerbates the volatility of American society.
Marijuana has also led to a conflict between jurisdictions. While the drug is illegal federally, several American states have already legalized recreational use. That means, in states where cannabis consumption is allowed, it will be simultaneously legal and illegal to smoke it.
This discrepency is not only another symptom of a potentially failing state, but also a security risk. Federal prohibition inhibits the ability of states where the drug is legal to impose appropriate rules, like when and where smoking is allowed, to ensure the safety of their citizens. Those states are also unable to properly educate residents about the drug.
Meanwhile in Canada, a massive public education campaign is already underway. Furthermore, an entire new legal code will immediately come into force on October 17th. While some regulations are in flux and still others seem to make little sense, Canada, as a whole, is ready.
Actually, the speed with which the provincial and federal governments have prepared for legalization is remarkable. This (relative) efficiency and unity demonstrate to the international community that Canada is succeeding where the United States is failing.
Canada is about to make a lot of money
Recreational cannabis legalization is a huge economic opportunity. Already, American companies and investors have flocked to Canada to take advantage of this first-ever, burgeoning market. Canada will be able to tax not only marijuana purchases, but also corporate profits related to the drug.
As the only major country to legalize recreational use, Canada will be its sole beneficiary. The country will, moreover, become a centre of medical and market research. It will have exclusive claim on whatever innovations arise as a result.
Then, of course, there are the billions of dollars in weed tourism that will flood the streets of Canadian cities. While other countries continue to spend countless millions to enforce their restrictive drug policies, Canada will be making money. That example may finally catalyze widespread legalization.
Legal weed will bolster Canada’s international reputation
All of these factors will only elevate Canada’s reputation on the international stage. The country is already viewed as a foil to conservative American policy and a refuge for the oppressed. The legalization of recreational cannabis will reaffirm Canada’s status in the eyes of dreamers around the world.
Canada will become the revered destination that the United States once was. Canadians should celebrate. They’re about to change the world.