Letter: Canadian ground moved last week

Supreme Court's ruling legalizing cannabinoid medicinals/derivatives is a huge step forward for the cannabis industry, writes Dave Milton.

The Supreme Court of Canada’s ruling legalizing cannabinoid medicinals/derivatives is a huge step forward for the cannabis industry. And a signal, I believe, to the industry that as their products become more tolerated by society generally, the industry itself has some house-cleaning to do.

Driven underground by sweeping criminalization, that industry is endowed with a burdensome reputation partly also self-inflicted. I regard the ruling as opportunity.

Such opportunity is buoyed by last week’s CBC Radio One report reminding listeners that local marijuana production has been a lucrative sub-economy for more than half a century which suggests to me that legalized, the industry—every step from growers to consumers—has a legitimate role to play in lawful economic development.

I’ve a personal problem writing this because I had never even seen a marijuana plant until four years ago—I was seventy-two at the time—and my only other experiences with it are of teaching pathetic young people, who had been ravaged by it, to regain their self-esteem, higher measures of physical capability and social readjustment.

The industry will aid my personal development when, a) robust scientific evidence of the benefits of medicinal marijuana is irrefutable, like Aspirin, and, b) the general public has full knowledge of the business entities that grow, refine, package, market and retail the end products and c) such business entities are fully accredited and conform with standard business practices.

Progressive operators already have these things in hand, I’m sure. An amnesty, anyone?

Headway must be forged by the industry itself because having been illegal, though lucratively productive, it has historical impediments to overcome primarily that of pariah status. It’s likely that the “dispensary” end of the business chain will gain acceptance most quickly, while growers and chemists have the longest rows to hoe.

It will take time but the whole industry stands to gain, as does the broader community. We might even discuss “economic development” with a cannabinoid industry as a busy cog in the works.

It’s likely the most lucrative industry around; it must be brought on board. Perhaps we’ll even become a recognized industry leader offering bona fide courses, seminars and workshops—perhaps even a school; we’ve got to do something with Broadacres and Hardy View. Anything but those awful outdoor rock concerts.

Canadian ground moved twice last week. Firstly, when the TRC released its findings and found Indian Residential Schools culpable of cultural genocide and we were all obliged to ask, “What sort of country is this?”

And then came the Supreme Court ruling on cannabis and we asked again. Both events present Canadians with new opportunities and new challenges that beg solutions. Whither now? again…

We have much to do and it’s time to be honest with each other. Years ago I told pot-blasted kids, “Don’t repeat mistakes; use bad experiences from them to remodel your futures.”

It’s time to trade in the old model—it just doesn’t cut it anymore.

– Dave Milton, Grand Forks


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