Yesterday, the Senate passed a historic law that makes Canada only the second country to legalize recreational marijuana.
This is great news for a number of reasons: low-level drug offenders will be exonerated, schools will be able to provide better drug education, fewer minors will have access to weed, and organized crime's grip on marijuana distribution will loosen, if not disappear.
But for all its benefits, the new law will also completely change the way the average Canadian purchases their weed.
Here are 5 ways the new marijuana law will make it more difficult for Canadians to access the drug:
1. The provinces will have a monopoly over distribution.
As with alcohol, the distribution and sale of marijuana will be entirely up to provincial governments. That means they can slap on new regulations whenever they want and that the new agencies in charge of distributon will have extensive oversight power. The new bureaucracy is sure to cause headaches. Weed stores will also be subject to labour laws and union rules, meaning that workers will, rightfully, be able to strike to demand better conditions. That's good for workers' rights, but frustrating for the marijuana consumer.
2. Only a few stores will open.
Marijuana sales will be consolidated to a few locations in each province. Ontario plans to open 40 stores, while Québec plans to start with only 20 stores (in the whole province!!). Say goodbye to the convenience of texting your dealer for a meet-up time.
3. Prices will go up.
Legalization also means taxation. Parliament reahed an agreement to tax marijuana sales at 10%. But the price of the product will also increase to pay for the distribution complex, infrastructure, and employees. The increased demand that will undoubtedly accompagny legalization along with the government's monopoly will also affect prices.
4. The purchase process will be highly regulated.
According to the CEO of Québec's SAQ, everything from the architecture of marijuana stores to the interactions between employees and customers will be regulated. Employees will also have to go through extensive training.
5. Deliveries will also be highly regulated.
Perhaps the best part about legalization is that home deliveries will now be possible. But there are a few catches: customers won't be able to schedule deliveries and packages can't be dropped off if nobody is home. Also expect security protocals for deliveries.