The legalization of marijuana in Canada is a controversial topic, one that has been discussed to a great extent throughout the years. Making this illegal drug more accessible for medical and recreational uses not only affects the political aspect of Canada’s identity, but the social, environmental, and economic aspects as well. The political issue came about in 1923, when Parliament’s decision made Canada one of the first countries to add marijuana to the list of illegal drugs. More recently, the topic of whether or not marijuana should be illegal has been brought to the attention of political leaders and widely talked about in media and schools, not only in Canada but in the rest of the world as well. According to the Health Department of Canada, “the [Canadian government] intends to bring the proposed Cannabis Act into force no later than July 2018”, which is only a few months from today (Global News, 2017).As for the social aspect, youth in Canada are becoming more aware of the current governmental stance on marijuana, due to their ability to access social media. In my opinion, through the use of memes, social media posts, and news stories, the idea that marijuana is “harmless” is perpetuated and will most likely result in an increase in drug use by the younger generation. We’ve been told that marijuana is going to be legal, so it can’t be that bad right?
Additionally, according to a study from business services firm Deloitte, the growing, distribution, increased tourism and business taxes resulting from the legalization of marijuana will amount to between $12.7 billion to $22.6 billion annually. The marijuana sales will most likely be close to or larger than the hard liquor sales in Canada, giving our economy a much-needed boost.
Lastly, the growing of cannabis plants takes a toll on the environment, according to a study published by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife in 2015. Researchers looked at outdoor marijuana grow-ops and greenhouses, concluding that “weed cultivation [is] excessively diverting water from creeks that are home to threatened salmon populations” (CTV News, 2018). The legalization of marijuana in Canada has long-lasting effects on all aspects of Canada’s identity: political, social, economic, and environmental. Although there are benefits, such as a boosted economy, there are many disadvantages as well, such as environmental pollution and increased drug use in youth.
I believe that this event moves us towards Prime Minister Trudeau’s idea of a “postnational” state, the idea that “there is no core identity, no mainstream in Canada,” (Vancouver Sun, 2016). There has been a lot of controversy around the legalization of marijuana, the citizens of Canada all holding different opinions about whether or not the laws should be changed. The fact that there has been so much disagreement about this single topic is evidence that Canada is a place of diverse people, with diverse opinions; we are not a nation with the same beliefs and ideals. Similarly, there is no value in trying to define a specific Canadian identity. We are all different, there’s no single concept or belief that ties each and every one of us together. Religious/political beliefs and overall opinions differ from person to person, therefore proving that Canada does not have a specific identity, nor does it need to.