I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t understand how governments communicate. If something is handed down federally, I’m not sure how provincial and civic governments react and respond. And with the whole legalization of cannabis thing, what I’m seeing is provinces and cities freaking out and figuring out how to adapt to changes that they don’t really want.
Earlier this week, local governments across Canada were scrambling to decide what’s allowed and what’s not, where it’s allowed and where it’s not. If those governments are confused on the new law, imagine how the public feels.
When Prime Minister Trudeau made the campaign promise, he was still just Justin Trudeau. He wasn’t in charge yet. It was a platform he had for the election campaign and ultimately he kept his word. (Shocking for a candidate, I know.)
But legalizing cannabis is not as simple as saying, “OK, you can do it now.” Along with that comes all the logistics of allowing a substance like cigarettes and alcohol. It’s not a regular consumer product that anyone can buy anywhere they want. With that, the confusion and problems began… and it continues today.
City councils throughout the country quickly said they didn’t want smoking marijuana legal in public places. They wanted it banned just like cigarettes. Then there was talk about where it could be bought and cities ended up making rules for locations, signage and even storefront windows.
I’m not sure if these were stall tactics, a way to make the process so difficult and complex that people wouldn’t want to be involved or if local governments are just a clusterfuck when tasked with implementing new laws handed down by the feds. I don’t recall anything in recent memory that’s had so much public confusion hours before it comes into play.
It seemed like a great election promise: Marijuana will be legal in Canada. That’s fine. Maybe the campaign pitch worked for Trudeau. And with it now being legal, I can still say I don’t know the ins and outs of how it works across the country.
When it comes to smoking cigarettes, I know it’s basically illegal in most indoor establishments. Alcohol, I understand, is mostly allowed in restaurants, lounges, bars and at private events. These things I know. I might not know the specific laws in each province and territory but they’re very similar and I have a good idea.
As for cannabis, I can honestly tell you that I have no idea about the fine print for my hometown or any other jurisdiction in Canada. But how can I be expected to know when in the 11th hour my own governments are still ironing out the details? It’s not like this whole legalization date surprised them. There’s been plenty of time.
As I like to say: What could possibly go wrong?