Marijuana legalization sounds fun and freeing on paper, but in practice, it could be disastrous for Canadians.
Due to the rather strict marijuana-related laws enforced by federal and provincial governments, Canadians can look forward to (or the opposite) an influx of criminal charges and court cases.
"I would foresee for the first couple of years it's going to be a nightmare, really." said Andrew Barbacki, a criminal lawyer speaking to the Canadian Press.
Daniel Weinstock, law professor at McGill University, shared the same sentiment when telling his students to go into criminal law, noting that there will be “a steady stream of customers” due to citizens facing marijuana-related charges.
Rather rigid zero-tolerance marijuana policies will likely be the major cause for legal concern among Canadians, especially in Quebec.
Anyone caught under driving “under the influence” of marijuana in Quebec will have their license revoked, automatically, for 90 days. The driver doesn’t even need to be “high,” per se, but merely have a detectable amount of marijuana in their system.
But small amounts of cannabis can stay in a person’s system days after being smoked or eaten, points out Avi Levy, a lawyer who runs Ticket 911, a company that provides legal services to individuals facing driving violations.
Legal experts predict that the amount of impaired driving charges will skyrocket, putting a major strain on the court system. Not to mention being a major nuisance to Canadians who are merely enjoying what will be a legal substance.
Quebec will also make it illegal to buy marijuana from an unsanctioned dispensary or dealer. The only place to purchase cannabis will be at the Société Québécoise du Cannabis.
Growing marijuana at home will also be illegal in Quebec.
So if you buy you weed from anyone/where that isn’t government-regulated, or try to grow your own, you can bet the strong arm of the law will come crashing down on you.
Politicians and police will probably be even more eagle-eyed looking for marijuana-related infractions since they won’t want to look like they’re “soft on drugs,” points out the Canadian Press.
The justice system will also be blocked up buy the huge influx of marijuana-related charges, which many citizens will (hopefully) contest in court.
Unfortunately, this is the major downside to marijuana legalization. A legal framework for marijuana use means more restrictions, and consequences.
Since we’ll be legally “allowed” to buy and smoke weed, the government basically has the right to say when and where marijuana use is appropriate. Any infractions will then lead to fines or charges.
It’s almost like a thinly-veiled prohibition, points out Weinstock.