Photo cred - Laura-Lynn Petrick
In Montreal, marijuana is all but legal in many respects, though the same can't be said for the rest of the province. Even within the city, there are some hurdles you need to go through as a weed smoker, which got us to thinking: what would Quebec be like if it was the first province to legalize marijuana?
The answer, of course, is way better. And not just for weed smokers. The entire province would benefit if weed was legalized. Non-believers, read on in the big and small ways life would change for the better should weed be legal. Fellow smokers, just simply nod your head in agreement as you go through the list.
1. Smoking On A Terrasse
Here's an obvious one that is just too magical not to talk about, because if smoking cannabis was as legal as smoking cigarettes, you could freely light a joint on any terrasse in Montreal. Think of it: you're in the sun with a pitcher of sangria or beer, enjoying the warm weather, and you bust a joint to enjoy with your friends, freely able to pass around to everyone at your table. Passing your bud around to nearby hunnies is also a great way to break the ice.
2. Dispensaries Mean More Types Of Weed
If Quebec were to go the full-on dispensary route, making designated stores where people can grab their marijuana, and only there, would make for the ultimate weed-buying experience. No random dealer saying his stuff is "White Widow" or "OG Kush," you'd have government approved labels telling you exactly the strain, effects, and the price. Dispensaries would also create more jobs, and who wouldn't want to work at the weed version of the SAQ?
3. More Quebec-made Products People Will Actually Buy
Another major boost to the Quebec economy would be the large amount of farmers, growers, and food makers who would have an entirely new market to appeal to. Not only would there be the ability to farm mass amounts of bud to sell, but Quebec producers could make cannabis chocolate, beverages, pizza, and pretty much anything that can be made into an edible, all of which the population would eat up, pardon the pun.
4. No Stress Smoking
As it stands, you can pretty much light up anywhere in Montreal, without having to worry about getting fined or arrested. The same can't be said for the rest of Quebec, and even certain, less chilled out areas of Montreal, like certain movie parking lots in the West Island. If smoking bud was legal, no one would be at risk of bored cops looking for a brief bout of excitement by booking folks who smoke.
5. Way More Relaxed Population
Many may say that weed makes them paranoid or stressed, though that's usually the testimony of folks who barely ever smoked or just had way too much for their system to handle. All in all, weed smokers are pretty relaxed, as bud pretty much makes all of your problems seem pretty manageable and minuscule in the grand scheme of things. If all of Quebec lit up a bit more, we'd probably have a lot more chilled out population, and less Charter of Values-esque action.
6. Increased Tourism For The Whole Province
Montreal gets a whack ton of tourists all throughout the year. The rest of Quebec, aside from Quebec city, not so much. When (not even if, talking like it's a thing will maybe make it reality) Quebec becomes the first province to legalize marijuana, flocks of Canadians and American will head to La Belle Province for a chance to freely smoke. Even rural Quebec will be more appealing once weed is involved.
7. No More, Or Less, Sketchy Dealers
The creation of dispensaries would pretty much make the function of dealers obsolete. Dealers would still exist, of course, as other drugs need to be sold and they'd probably sell cheaper weed, though you wouldn't need to go to a dealer anymore. Sure, your dealer may be a magical individual who is truly altruistic, but let's be real, she/he is the exception to the norm. A vast majority of dealers are sketchy individuals, and not having to deal with them would be great. Maybe best would be no more randos asking you if you want bud by the George-Étienne Cartier Monument.
8. Smoke Before A Poutine, Always
Think about it. No matter where you're getting a poutine, you would always be free to smoke a bit of bud, to prepare your mind and body for the blissful mouthgasm you are about to experience. It doesn't get much better.
9. No More Stoner Stigma
With marijuana legalized, and more people smoking in general, which would obvi be the resultant, the classic/awful "stoner" stereotype would be slowly dismantled. You know the "all people who smoke weed are silly, giggly, eat a bunch, and don't get shit done" archetype, which is a thing for real reasons, but far from true in most respects. The general populace would slowly see that stoners can be functional and successful people who contribute to society, and not lazy mothertruckers who don't get nuttin' done.
10. Medical Marijuana Would Be More Accessible
This is a big one. Cancer patients and those with debilitating illnesses don't use marijuana purely for recreational purposes, they use the substance as a form of medication and pain relief. You can be a medical marijuana card holder in Quebec, which is great, though the lives of medical marijuana users would become much more convenient if weed was legal. Cannabis would be a lot more accessible, and they wouldn't have to explain their situation nearly as much, since everyone would be able to smoke weed freely.
11. More Money For The Government
A major boon to the big guys if they were to legalize and dispense marijuana would be the amount of money they would make off of taxes. Like any substance, weed would have to be taxed, much like cigarettes and alcohol. For the casual smoker, that would mean slightly higher prices for bud than we have now, which does suck, but the amount of pros (see entire list) would outweigh the extra charge. Taxation may be the only logical reason the Quebec government would legalize marijuana, so we'll let 'em have it.
For more on all things Montreal, follow Michael on Twitter @MDAlimonte