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Cannabis is legal in Canada: What you need to know (cbc.ca)
327 points by john37386 28 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 328 comments



How Canada interfaces with the rest of the world promises to be a bit screwy.

For just one example, consider airline staff. Some Canadian airlines have already banned employees from using pot. Obviously, the general public doesn't want to fly with pilots that are high in more than one way. These airlines also have to operate in countries, like the U.S., where their employees could be detained or expelled for even admitting to have used pot in the past. Being able to look foreign gatekeepers in the face and deny having ever used a product that's legal in your native country is now a necessary job requirement for some.

On the bright side, we could finally get some quality data on the health impacts of pot, now that trials and surveys can be done without potentially incriminating anyone. Like practically every other fun thing in existence it's probably very bad for you. We just don't know how... yet.

Canada taxes alcohol at a rate of over 50% in most provinces. The initial tax rates for pot will be much lower, but should increase steadily year-over-year. Alcohol taxes continue to rise every year. This is going to be a huge cash cow for the Canadian government, and I can't imagine other countries not wanting to get in on the action once they see how much Canada will be raking in.


> Being able to look foreign gatekeepers in the face and deny having ever used a product that's legal in your native country is now a necessary job requirement for some.

This is not so different from being arrested for having drunk alcohol at the UAE border. (In this case, alcohol supplied by the Dubai airline.)

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/aug/11/woman-arrest...

https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/united-arab-emirate...


Except in this case the consumption could have happened years prior, as opposed to being actively intoxicated.

edit: not saying I agree with Dubai's policies.


From every headline there's a backstory.

I've been to Dubai Airport and had a pint. No problem. There's bars all over the place. Even an official Heineken bar.

Just don't act like an ass and you'll be fine.


>From every headline there's a backstory.

The backstory being "Don't be a woman in UAE"?

>I've been to Dubai Airport and had a pint. No problem.

O, selective enforcement, the glorious ideal all other countries' legal systems should aspire to!


It won't change overnight. Selective enforcement is one step towards freedom.


How is the US travel situation with Canada any different to someone coming from say the Netherlands?

Regarding pilots, Transport Canada, the governing body over federal aviation regulations has explicitly come out and said use of Canabis is valid grounds for a revoked medical certificate, which is required for any pilot to fly. While the airline rules are one thing, this is a very serious implication for pilots.


One major thing that comes to mind is that cannabis is still technically illegal in the Netherlands. Instead there is a distinction of "soft drugs" and "hard drugs" and authorities follow a policy of non-enforcement in many (but not all) cases. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drug_policy_of_the_Netherlands...

In Canada cannabis has become legal in a manner similar to alcohol, making the difference.


Interestingly to me, it seems that the broader international audience on HN has absolutely no idea that individual states in the USA have fully legalized and regulated cannabis.

Colorado (where I live) has done so for 4 years, and California, Nevada, to name a few, have followed suit.


We know, it's just that it is still illegal at the federal level. It's similar to the non-prosecution agreement mentioned in the Netherlands above.


> It's similar to the non-prosecution agreement mentioned in the Netherlands above

not necessarily. in Oregon, it is tracked, taxed, and regulated. one can still grow their own and remove themselves from the tracking, but this is for personal consumption not for sale.

there is still enforcement, and cooperation with the federal levels, specifically to help curb the black market and the problems that arise due to the black market.

one example of a difference would be the airport - you can fly in Oregon with cannabis, as long as you are under the legal limit to carry and are flying within the state (not crossing any borders). if the TSA (federal employees) are concerned about how much you are carrying or that you are not old enough, they will detain you long enough for local authorities to check, then release you and whatever legal amount you have with you to fly (if you are over the limit, you are asked to dispose of it, much like having too much liquid in your carry-on).

this differs quite a bit to pre-legalization, where non-prosecution was more likely if you were white and in a larger city such as Portland.

the limits are for federal property, which falls under federal law, crossing borders, which again falls under federal law, and black market activities, which are illegal under state laws, and likely include crossing of borders or federal land (quite a lot of forests in the United States are federally owned).


The major practical difference to the average American citizen, is that the FDA is a federal organization, and so must still follow the federal ruleset when licensing drugs, even for products that will only be sold within a given state.

If an Oregon pharmaceutical company wanted to try to put THC in a pill; do a study for its positive effects against, say, anxiety; and then get it bottled and sold at drug stores—they still wouldn't be able to, because, even if the government of Oregon would love for them to do so, the Oregon state legislature isn't responsible for allowing or disallowing that to happen.

Whereas, if a Canadian pharmaceutical company now wants to attempt to get a cannabis byproduct licensed for prescription or OTC usage in Canada, they now totally can.


> Whereas, if a Canadian pharmaceutical company now wants to attempt to get a cannabis byproduct licensed for prescription or OTC usage in Canada, they now totally can.

you are absolutely correct, but I was only addressing the note that state legalization is equivalent to looking the other way in the Netherlands, which was the opinion of OP.

I very much look forward to the research that Canadian companies are able to do, specifically with other cannabinoids other than thc.


Just to be pedantic, Washington was the first state to legalize for recreational use (by 4 days), so Colorado was also following suit ;)


Here are a few points by the CBC. https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/kitchener-waterloo/cannabis-5...

Basically don't cross an international border with weed.

From the above article "This is the case even if you are travelling to places like The Netherlands or Uruguay that have decriminalized or legalized cannabis."


It's a bit more passive than that for the aviation stuff. Transport Canada has decided not to change the current policy. That's a bit surprising. A cynical person might think that they were just too slow to come up with such a policy and that there might be one showing up later.

Cannabis is not explicitly mentioned in the regulations and is lumped in with any drug, legal or not, that can cause impairment.


Pilots are in short supply worldwide, any country creating further restrictions is going to obviously face even more supply problems.

Get the feeling it will pass unnoticed, like many regulations that don't make sense it's far easier to let it slide rather than change the rules.


I’m surprised to hear that pilots are in short supply. I started learning to fly as a hobby and I saw many videos about how hard it is to get a job at a commercial airline. I got the impression that there is more supply than there is demand.


Pilots aren't in short supply. Pilots willing to accrue $40k in dept for the necessary education to then get paid $25k a year are very much in short supply. Many regional pilots are on food stamps. This is the reason I currently write software instead of flying commercial airplanes.


The going rate for training to commercial level in the UK is £120k. I wonder what accounts for the difference. Pilot wages are higher than the $25k you mention. Are those regional airlines subsidising the training?


Shouldn't wages increase with demand? Why aren't they?


If only the market was as simple as this. The reason as with many things lies with the fact that when an industry has a small number of large employers, they can conspire to cap wages fairly easily without ever actually speaking to each other, and indeed it probably happens without any illegal conspiracy, just them banking on each other to not undercut.


It's been years since I was a student pilot, but it doesn't look like things have changed much. Back then, there were many commercial pilots at the low end, making peanuts. Only at the middle & upper levels do you really start to make money

It's a similar situation to National Park Rangers: there are so many people willing to do the job that wages are very low.


Why the World is Running Out of Pilots:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cognzTud3Wg

Edit: I'm not a pilot, just a kid that never grew up and likes airplane stuff...


Getting the necessary time in complex aircraft has gotten almost prohibitively expensive. I also believe the military is creating less pilots as a result of having fewer and fewer airframes. I wanted to be a pilot and pursued an Air National Guard C-17 squadron, but to get the hours they were looking for would have required me to be independently wealthy. And if you go the civilian route, you end up flying for a regional with hopes it doesn't get bought out before you get enough PIC time to be competitive for one of the majors. And that is while making 20k-30k anually for 5-10 years.


Depends where you are. In Asia this is very true, in North America it's not true at all. Source: I'm a pilot.


> The initial tax rates for pot will be much lower, but should increase steadily year-over-year. Alcohol taxes continue to rise every year.

The problem is they've got to play this game very carefully right now as the black market is still well established and providing to many people.

They need to both drop prices (which should happen once more supply spins up) and start raiding illegal dispensaries and mail order shops if they want to convince people to stay in the legal system. From what I've seen on reddit - we need to see a significant price drop and potentially quality improvement before many existing regular users will be convinced to switch.


Personal anecdote, I was a heavy cannabis user in Colorado when it became legal. In the beginning most people still would purchase green from their dealer to avoid the the high tax. Over time, most people simply switched to using dispensaries for the convenience and selection. I no longer live in CO but of my cannabis friends there, almost everyone I know uses a dispensary now.


Are you and your cannabis using friends white? Colorado actually tracks these numbers and has found for years since legalization that about 50% of "street" level sales are illegal and 50% go through dispensaries. Minorities are significantly more likely to purchase it illegally and whites are significantly more likely to purchase it legally.


Yep. CO in general is a very white state so I wonder how relevant that is? It is interesting regardless.


Are there still people who buy/sell illegally? What's the price difference, if you have any idea?


I no longer live in CO, at this point I assume most people who buy off the black market just have a friend with a lot of plants who can grow it at a cheaper price.


From personal experience (as an Oregon resident, not a drug dealer), it will be incredibly difficult for black market sellers to compete with the technology and economies of scale that large companies will bring to bear on the cannabis market. Taxes would have to be much, much higher (200%?) to allow for significant black market competition. Of course there will always be some fraction who buy "under the table" just as there will always be some people who prefer to brew their own beer but overall their impact is negligible as a proportion of the whole.


I completely agree, however we just need to see that in effect - and it's not yet visible on the marketplace currently.


Meh, what people say on reddit and what they do are two different things. Folks might hold out for a bit, but I imagine most folks will pay the “convenience fee” and pop down to the shop on the way home from work. As a WA resident, at this point if I had to go tracking down a dealer, I’d go back to not smoking.


A lot of people currently use illicit mail order services, which puts it pretty much at the same level of convenience as government run online shops at the moment.


Fair enough, much different situation than the U. S., I guess. I'll admit to be being pretty surprised that the government's solution to not having brick-and-mortars up and running was, "well, would it be okay if we just mailed it to you?" Umm...hell, yeah?


It wasn't a surprise to me.

All medical cannabis in Canada has been shipped via Canada Post for almost two decades, and the same set of producers are handling recreational supplies. Extending this to recreational seems like a straightforward way to get things started.


Can't all these (once?) illegal growers sellers just do so legally now?

Not talking about someone who buys an ounce and sells 3/4 so they get a 1/4 for free, but those doing it as a business, making good money.

About 15 years ago used to grow and sell in the UK, nothing too major, about 1 to 2kg a month would get cropped every month of the year. If the option presented itself to pay tax on the profit in order to remove the hassle and fear or banking the money I would have taken the hit of lost profit in a heart beat.

Is this not being offered to existing growers / suppliers / dealers? I can understand perhaps not as a long term solution, but as a transition period


They don't just tax the profit, do they? If they tax the sale price, it's pretty easy for the taxes to exceed your profit margin.


Nope, existing black market growers are shit out of luck, you need to have a license from Health Canada to grow commercially (over 4 plants personal), they're barely allowing movement of plant seeds from the black market into the legal system, but that's about it. If you're a black market grower you must still sell illegally.


Since cannabis is legal through out the country maybe the banking system will touch it. Illegal dispensaries wouldn't stand a chance compared to a legal one that could accept bank and credit cards.


Will it be terribly different than how US states that have legalized marijuana interface with federal governmental entities? Plenty of folks in Colorado, Oregon, Washington, some of the New England States, and California work for the federal government and have to tell them that they do not use marijuana. Similar with airline pilots, etc based out of these States.


It will be different because the US can bar Canadians for life from ever entering the country.

Whereas they can't bar a US Citizen from re-entering the country.


Ways it's bad:

1) Helps being okay with being bored 2) Cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome, and, by my estimation, varying levels thereof 3) Cancer, and lung/heart disease, if you're dumb enough to light it on fire =] 4) Adrenal fatigue

Still an incredibly useful substance.


And none of those happen if you have a chemical imbalance resulting in low endocannabinoid levels, because THC/CBD would just bring those levels back up to a baseline reference value, rather than pushing them into excess.

(I.e., the same reason that people who have ADHD don't become manic when taking stimulant-class ADHD meds; while people who don't have ADHD, do.)


You're right, except the cancer.

Don't light shit on fire, kids. Vaporize or eat!


I'm struggling to find a good vaporizer.


> On the bright side, we could finally get some quality data on the health impacts of pot

Doesn't this already exist from other countries where it's been legal for decades?


Doesn't this already exist from other countries where it's been legal for decades?

As far as I know Canada is only the second country in the world (after Uruguay) to actually fully legalize recreational cannabis.


FWIW, the population of California (where recreational cannabis has been legal since winter) is larger than the entire population of Canada.


> Doesn't this already exist from other countries where it's been legal for decades?

There is no other country in the world where marijuana has been legal for decades.

However, that doesn't mean that research into the effects of marijuana doesn't happen, including in the U.S. Marijuana is actually one of the most well-studied drugs in existence - we have a much clearer understanding of the short- and long-term effects of marijuana than we do of almost every commercially-produced pharmaceutical on the market.


I don't think there are any. Not in the West, anyway. Even in the Netherlands it's only "tolerated", not legalized or even decriminalized.


Portugal decriminalized all drugs a few years ago, with tremendous success from a health and crime perspective. Decriminalization and state-sponsored addiction programs were key in controlling a drug epidemic there.

It would be a solution for the current American opioid crisis, but implementing such measures there would be political suicide.


Yes, true. I didn't mention Portugal because it didn't pass the "decades of experience" condition.


Where has it been legal for decades? I'm not aware of any.


‘Obviously, the general public doesn't want to fly with pilots that are high in more than one way.’

I laughed way too hard at this for some reason.


I'd much rather have a high pilot than a hung-over/drunk pilot though which seems to be quite common.


Pilots being drunk in the cockpit is not “quite common” at least among major carriers. Pilots are randomly tested throughout the year against a stricter standard than what’s used for driving under the influence in the US. A positive test can be career ending.


And then there's the stereotype that they're on stimulants a la Denzel Washington in "Flight"


Not to derail the conversation. I agree, the delivery within the OP was spot on.


> Obviously, the general public doesn't want to fly with pilots that are high in more than one way.

To hear my uncle tell it, I've got some _really_ bad news for Canadians about the prevalence of alcoholism amongst pilots.

According to him, something like 1/8th of them are some level of drunk while flying.


Wow, some really interesting edge cases in there that require serious thought.

US border guards might deny you entry if you admit to previous cannabis use - for them "A confession is as good as a conviction". So you can do something that is perfectly legal in Canada, then a month later be denied entry to the US for doing it.

If you work at a 100% legal Government-run Cannabis store and want to go to the US for a holiday, you "Could be found admissible". could!

When arriving by air into Canada you will be asked about previous Cannabis use. What? They don't ask about previous alcohol use, why do they for what is now perfectly legal Cannabis?


I just had a crazy thought - so it's legal in Canada, it's legal in Washington State, but it's illegal in the eyes of the border guard separating the two because he's a US federal employee. That's seriously fascinating.


Well, the thing is it's not really legal in WA, Federal law applies to WA. It's just not illegal at the state level any more.


Au contraire, that's my point - it is legal in the state of Washington, by the vote and actions of the people. Likewise, by the vote and actions of the people of British Columbia it is legal. But, to a political body 2000 miles away it is not. And, because they have a representative who stands in a little box separating those two groups who have voted and acted, it is somehow made illegal should he or she wish to harass someone crossing that invisible line. It's ripe for a Kafka novel really.


> it is legal in the state of Washington, by the vote and actions of the people

The people who live in Washington only decide a subset of the laws for the state. It is still illegal to possess or consume weed in Washington because WA is a part of the United States of America, where weed is illegal nationwide.

The "United States of America" as a political body is defined by the borders of the United States of America (within which WA is completely contained), it is not located in Washington DC.


You are missing the nuance of what I'm saying, but I don't have the energy to explain it right now.

Are you the Cory Klein in Minnesota (with whom I went to college)?


That's not particularly nuanced: you can probably find may examples of actions that are legal on a state level, but illegal on a Federal level.


> Are you the Cory Klein in Minnesota

Nope, although there are less than 50 Cory Kleins in the United States, so hooray for unlikely probabilities!


> US border guards might deny you entry if you admit to previous cannabis use - for them "A confession is as good as a conviction". So you can do something that is perfectly legal in Canada, then a month later be denied entry to the US for doing it.

That was already the (insane) case. Consider people who live in the Netherlands, or Czechia, or Portugal.


Hey, person living in Czechia here. Weed is illegal here. For carrying a joint or up to 10g of weed, you can get fined up to 600USD. More than that and you might have some serious problems with police. Of course you can't smoke it in public only at home.

I think it's quite a misconception about Czechia being super weed friendly. As a tourist you are most probably going to get scammed on streets of Prague. If you want to feel more free about weed consumption Netherlands is the place to go to.


Tangent: when did "Czechia" become a recognized short form of "Czech Republic"? (I lived and worked in Prague in the late 90's and before today had never come across "Czechia".)


<<The country will retain its full name but Czechia will become the official short geographic name, as "France" is to "The French Republic">>

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-36048186



Anecdata: in 2005 I dated a Czech who called the country "Czech" when speaking English (her third language).

Further tangent: at least part of it has been "die Tschechei" in German since 1918 per the Wiktionary[0] and that's certainly the word people used in West Germany in the 80's, and I believe it's used widely today despite "Tschechien" being official[1].

The Wikipedia article (in German) suggests Tschechei is from Čechy which seems to be Czech for Bohemia. But I am not Czech nor Cseh nor tschechisch nor Čech so I may soon stand corrected. :-)

[0]: https://de.wiktionary.org/wiki/Tschechei [1]: https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tschechien


Some years ago but I'm really surprised there are people who care about whether the words they use are officially "recognized".


Northern Ireland has unionist-associated and nationalist-associated names [1] - using one of them without knowing you're doing so might make people think you've got strong opinions on something you actually don't know much about.

So if you hear someone using a country name you've never heard before, I can understand being cautious about adopting it :)

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alternative_names_for_Northern...


I don't particularly care about what's official so much as what people use in conversation, but seeing the name of a country change within my own lifetime is an unusual and interesting experience.


Then you may probably be interested in knowing it's just a change in the official code (and I believe quite a number of such changes took place all over the world during your lifetime) and that it even isn't a change but an addition - the "old" name remains ("Czechia" to "The Czech Republic" is what "Mexico" is to "The United Mexican States" or what "Russia" is to "The Russian Federation"). Every Czech or other eastern-European would perfectly understand you if you'd have been using the word "Czechia" in in the past although it wasn't used much in English speech actually. I had even been using it in some semi-official texts in 2008, it wasn't invented in 2013 and wasn't any kind of unacceptable or widely-unknown before.


I don't think it's "just" an official change; whether a cause or consequence of the official change, I've encountered Czech people saying "Czechia" in English a lot more often in recent years than earlier. (E.g. the place I bought my bike from redesigned their website and the new one says "Proudly made in Czechia" where the old one said "Made in Czech Republic"). Of course these things are gradual but I do think it's a real change.


As far as I've noticed, most ppl including residents seem to just call it "Czech".


I know its illegal and would prefer to avoid the risk of doing so myself but I've seen people smoking smelly weed outdoors and the cops walking along and without paying attention many times in Prague and I adore this.


Maybe illegal, but there are still bars in Prague very openly selling pot.


Openly? Hardly. You are to know a place and how to ask for it.


While true, it's trivial to find this info on Google Maps.


I've only found some shops claiming they only sell CBD products and not THC. Perhaps I'm doing it wrong, I have little experience with Google Maps, I've just opened Google Maps and searched for weed and cannabis.


Weed (THC) is illegal in the Czech Republic, thus it is not openly advertised. Search for a "weed bar prague" in ordinary google search; various forums and reviews will show up. Then put some bar name into google maps and there will probably be a "user guide" in reviews. If not, then move to the next one - there are dozens, if not hundreds. If there is no guide and you're certain the bar sells weed, simply ask for it directly, usually the only requirement is to buy a drink first.


>usually the only requirement is to buy a drink first.

And if you obviously have no clue what you're doing and don't even try to buy a drink, they'll definitely know you aren't a cop and offer you the weed.


Also in the Netherlands is "tolerated" not "legal", they have directives gedoogbeleid that make some cases of selling and possessing, besides self-growing, of limited amounts of cannabis not prosecuted:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drug_policy_of_the_Netherlands


Consider people who live in the Netherlands, or Czechia, or Portugal.

It's not technically legal in any of those countries.


It is not legal in portugal


> US border guards might deny you entry if you admit to previous cannabis use

What? How? Why? That makes no sense.


They can deny entry for pretty much any reason.

You are correct that the US border policy with Canada doesn't make any sense.


Canada will deny a US citizen entry if they’ve ever had a DUI in their life, even if it was 30 years ago. Many people find this out the hard way.


A DUI is a criminal offence. You are being denied entry to the country because of the criminal offence.

Canadians are being denied entry into the US simply for what the US deems to be "immoral behavior".

That is a very slippery subjective slope to be on.

Even having investments in Cannabis stocks can get you barred for life.

Do you know where your mutual funds go at night...


DUI is also considered a felony in Canada.


Canada does not have felonies or misdemeanors. You are either in violation of the criminal code, or you aren't.


We have summary and indictable offences. A summary offence is more or less a misdemeanor, an indictable offence is basically a felony.


Yes, but the terminology and implications are different.

You can have a criminal conviction and still vote, for example.



"Many" but not nearly all. In Canada prisoners can and do vote.


I'm curious—would there be a way to comparatively analyze Canadian and American election results, to figure out whether prisoners' disenfranchisement has an impact on policy?


State to state comparisons would probably work better.


I suppose I should have said equivalent to a felony, since Canada uses different terms.

http://www.canadaduientrylaw.com/felony.php


A friend had an expunged disorderly conduct when he was 13. We were in our 20s, and were detained by the Canadian border for about 9 hours. Then they escorted us back because of the disorderly.

The second time I got detained was only for 5 hours though. The second time I went in mid to late 20s by myself. After searching my car for 3 hours, they didn't find anything and I was let go.

I hate it.


That's interesting, I went to Canada with my Mom and sister one time when they were visiting. My sister had a felony from when she was under 18 and it was also expunged or whatever the term.

We had to sit for about an hour and she had to go through a bunch of questioning but eventually they let us all through.

Every time tho I've had my car searched, it's too much of a hassle really to bother with going up there anymore for me personally.


I was detained for about an hour when entering at the Canadian border from the US. I'm a Canadian citizen, and was in the US for a conference for about a week. Canadian CBP is... something.


Canada is actually super good about this.

If you're coming from Australia, the official immigration docs ask do you have a DUI? If yes, was it below .07 Blood Alcohol Content?

(In Australia the crime is .05 or above, but in Canada the crime is only > .07)

So even if you broke the law in Australia and got a DUI at .06, Canada will ignore it, because technically driving at .06 in Canada is not a crime, so they don't deem you to have committed a crime at all!


Generally in Canada it's .08 legal limit. In BC it was dropped to .05


I've been denied entry in the past because I was insufficiently precise when writing down a date in my paperwork.

They can deny for any arbitrary reason, or no reason at all!


I don't see a single reason why you can be forced to incriminate yourself. If confession equals conviction, laws about right to remain silent should also apply.

I would happily say "no" and smile if I was you when asked about what you did in a different country that they have no business knowing.


>I don't see a single reason why you can be forced to incriminate yourself.

While thread didn't really get into citizenship, if you're aren't a citizen of the state in question you have no right of entry. The state has the right to ask for any information they wish and set criteria for entry as they wish. It's not a matter of "incrimination" as in you go to jail, it's a matter of obtaining permission for entry, you have no "right to remain silent". And in a democratic state I don't think that's immoral either. Knowing is in fact their business, and if it shouldn't be then the government should tell its border controls to not inquire at all.

>I would happily say "no" and smile if I was you when asked about what you did in a different country that they have no business knowing.

Obviously as a practical matter there are many situations where the odds of getting caught are minimal to non-existent, but I would be very cautious about casually committing perjury. Particularly in this worrying day and age of photos everywhere and ever increasing ML that can actually make sense of it and centralized datasets that governments may be able to gain access to. For example, particularly when the behavior is made legal I'd expect there to be a lot more people who post pictures of themselves using cannabis or not being concerned if someone else in the picture is because of course it's legal. Combine with spreading facial recognition and person tagging on places like Facebook and advertising (since it's legalized) that will be actively and legally interested in "is so-and-so a user so we can sell them related products" and someone could quite easily end up in a database saying "confirmed to use cannabis" without ever knowing. There are many times where "the coverup is worse then the crime" is quite true, and something that would merely get you politely or not so politely turned away would turn into a serious crime by lying about it. You can't know when an authority is asking you something out of actual interest vs a question they know the answer to already just to test you.

Honesty and political pressure seems better in this specific case given that it's not like there isn't already a major legalization movement in the US too. Canada is an extremely important business partner and source of tourism and ally. If enough Canadians were denied entry over this then even under this administration pressure to simply change the rules to ignore it would be very high. If not under this one then when the Democrats retake control.


"if you're aren't a citizen of the state in question you have no right of entry."

There's a huge racial component. Essentially all of this "you're not allowed to" talk is strictly for white people only.


I had to re-read the parent after seeing your comment. Are you saying:

1) It is racist to deny a non-citizen entry

2) Fuzzy rules for entry allow room for racial bias

3) Something else?


That's sort of orthogonal to the consequence of honestly answering the question.

And of course the policy also says that if they think you lied, they might use that as a reason to deny entry in the future.


Yes, but did not they teach you to think before talking?

They are free to not let you in, but you are free to ignore any irrelevant or intimate questions.


Nope. Ignoring or refusing to answer the question is grounds for denying admission or being permanently denied admission.


You can just say "no". And smile. Will be completely correct on your part.


> Guard: "Have you consumed weed in the last 30 days?"

> You: "No"

If you have consumed in the last 30 days, then your "No" response is definitely not correct.


Yes it is correct. They have no business asking this. If a question is incorrect, you can answer whatever you like to it.

Lying is only giving wrong answers on correct questions. If a person sticks their nose where it does not belong, too bad.

I have rights to do any kinds of thingd to my body, and I have exactly zero obligation to disclose it, unless in strict contexts of medical help or driving.


I don't understand your "teach you to think before talking" remark. I said your comment was orthogonal because it didn't address anything I had said in my other comment. Of course someone wanting to the enter the country will weigh their options, I'm just laying out the potential consequences, for someone that apparently had not heard of them (the other commenter, not you).


You have very few rights at a border. Almost any border, not just the US. A border is very much like a no-man's land where the law of the country you are entering or leaving is suspended. You can be held, searched without cause, refused entry at a guard's discretion (no reason is needed), and so on. Arguing your 'rights' at a border is one very good way to be seen as cause to get secondary screening and perhaps refusal of entry. And they are pretty good at detecting if you are lying - lots and lots of training there, you'd be surprised how easily unprepared people give themselves away in even the most simple lies.


You have no rights at the border.


Or within 100 miles of the border or any border services control point, like say an airport with international flights.



So no-one in San Francisco has any rights b/c it's within 100 miles from SFO ;)?

- I'm just kidding..


Not because it's near SFO, but because it's near the Pacific Ocean. They consider that a border. https://www.citylab.com/equity/2018/05/who-lives-in-border-p...


Crossing a foreign border is a privilege not a right.


A problem we can fix!


More accurate to say that border control agents will not respect your rights at their border.


Say who? Did you notify the UN about these findings?



You seriously do not think that you can override Human Rights agreements with some "congress bill", do you?

For some time you might act that way, but you are trespassing.

There is no right to cross the border, but there's loads of other rights, human and otherwise, that you still undeniably have while being at the border.


The legislation I linked to suspends all constitutionally-guaranteed rights "at" the border (ie within 100 miles of a border crossing, including any airports with international flights) if you are not an American citizen. The suspension of constitutional rights has been tried and upheld by a number of SCOTUS cases.

There is no international body regulating any other kind of right, despite the well-meaning intention of a number of organizations.


If you are not an American citizen you are still a citizen of some other country, which has its own obligations before its citizens to uphold their human rights, even when they cross someone other's border.

This may end up ugly for the USA if they try to abuse that decision. Not every country in this world is Mexico.


They abuse it routinely. Almost any Canadian who crosses regularly has seen it or experienced it. Especially since 9/11. It's just part of life being next to an aggressive large imperial power.


>which has its own obligations before its citizens to uphold their human rights

So you want the country the person is traveling from to impose their Will on the country they are traveling to?


Yes and it will definitely happen. Their ambassador sending notes to your state department and then starting to reconsider bilateral agreements.

Happens all the time.


Border guards are duty-bound to turn away people that they suspect are likely to commit crime and, in the United States as a whole, weed possession/consumption is still considered a crime worthy of jail time.

Although I think weed should be legal, in the mean time I am not interested in my taxes paying for the confinement or deportation of Canadians. Ergo, one can support weed legalization and also believe that weed consumption can be used from a practical perspective to deny entrance to foreigners.


> Although I think weed should be legal, in the mean time I am not interested in my taxes paying for the confinement or deportation of Canadians. Ergo, one can support weed legalization and also believe that weed consumption can be used from a practical perspective to deny entrance to foreigners.

This makes no sense. How does having consumed weed in the past entail that one will consume weed in the United States? This is like saying that a person who has driven on the left in the past will drive on the left in the United States, and should therefore be denied entry. It's ridiculous.


I think driving on the left is a false analogy. We don't drive on the left because we enjoy it or because it makes us happy. However, if we have consumed weed in the recent past, that is a strong signal that we have a preference for weed and would pursue the experience again in the future.

If you and I had a betting market that allowed us to bet on an individual's likelihood of consuming weed while in the United States, knowledge of that person's past behavior in consuming weed would be a strong piece of evidence that you could use when making a bet.

Anybody consuming weed today is more likely to have consumed it in the last 30 days than somebody that is not consuming weed today.


So what probability do you assign to someone smoking weed illegally in the United States, given that they have smoked weed in a different country where it's legal?


I wonder if border screening is cheaper than just deporting convicts back to Canada?

Of course making actual behavior consequential rather than potential behavior doesn't have those delicious authoritarian overtones.


> US border guards might deny you entry if you admit to previous cannabis use - for them "A confession is as good as a conviction"

Why? Is it not just selling and possession but also the very act of smoking illegal in the USA? Are the USA citizens forced to follow the homeland laws wherever they travel even if the laws at where they are are different? It sounds like if they had to still drive the right sides of the roads when in UK/Japan.


No, it's more similar to being denied entry to the US because you have previously driven on the left side of the road in the UK.


Or you have driven at 200mp/h on the Autobarn in Germany.

Obviously perfectly legal in Germany, but seriously illegal in the USA, so the border guards will deny you entry for breaking a US law while you where in a country where it's not illegal! insanity!


If you admit to smoking it, you must have been in possession of it.


I've once found some (something less than a gram), seriously. Nobody was around who it might belong to so I've just smoked it immediately. The law (well, a FAQ on the police website) says I should have taken it and given it up to the police but what if an officer would stop me for a check during my way and find it - wouldn't it be possession anyway? The purpose of possession is unverifiable and forbidding a person to consume any kind of substance is ridiculous.


Why the distinction? Both smoking and being in possession are illegal in the US anyway.


It can make logical sense to ban selling or producing but outlawing a person to consume whatever (except when driving, operating machinery or doing some other kind of job potentially dangerous to others) is plain absurd - every person's body belongs only to themselves and they drink/smoke/eat whatever they want.


I have been sent to the back of the queue to tick boxes on forms correctly by U.S. customs/border jobsworths and wondered why the experience has to be so patronisingly humiliating.

Once on a connecting flight so I wasn't even wanting to leave the airport. At the time I was working for a highly regarded company and going on to do some work for CBC in Toronto. I had flown in on business class and my smile, polite British English, white skin, smart clothes, clean passport and squeaky clean criminal record should have given me a free pass. I wasn't even carrying any highly unusual electronic hardware. And no I had not been a member of the 'communist party'.

As I saw it there was just a problem of 'customer service'. The mentality of border guards should be to welcome guests to the country and not treat everyone as a criminal.

As a non-U.S. person I am like a lot of people that just see the U.S. as not the place to want to go to. I know that most Americans lay on fantastic hospitality for visitors, welcoming you into their homes and looking out for you. But the hostile border guards obfuscate that.

Canada is the far more preferable destination, whether you want to be stoned all day or not matters little really, the legalisation of weed sends a signal that Canada is the much more welcoming place to go.

Tourism matters, I do wonder how much tourist trade the U.S. misses out on due to the negative perception the world has of the place.


As a US citizen, I can honestly say that I have never experienced more unprofessional, rude, and outright hostile border control experiences than some of the ones I've experienced when reentering the US, and I doubt they treat non-citizens any better. Unfortunately in the US, the customs and border control people often seem to be the rejects who can't get a job anywhere else and relish lording their power over you.


> As a US citizen, I can honestly say that I have never experienced more unprofessional, rude, and outright hostile border control experiences than some of the ones I've experienced when reentering the US

Everyone in the world says this about their own border agents! People always seem to be most critical of their own.


Do they, though? I've never heard anyone in the EU complain about border control.


i travel every year to the US for vacations and for US border patrol, it really depends on the state.

i hated coming in through detroit or atlanta (one atlanta officer even tried to find me on facebook -- wtf?). but only had good experiences with new york city and chicago.


The biggest problem with US border patrol is that they rotate the agents around. I grew up going into Quebec 4 or 5 times a year, and when you were coming back home, you always knew when you got an agent that had been stationed on the Mexican border. They'd have their hand on their pistol the whole time, and badger and hassle you. This is at a small crossing where 99% of traffic is log trucks, locals visiting family, and Canadians crossing over to buy cheap gas at the US side general store. It's not a high threat area, but those agents that had been on the other border were habituated to the possibility of drugs and human trafficking, and that any interaction could go south into a deadly confrontation.


"that any interaction could go south into a deadly confrontation"

Except those situations are very rare. CBP's own website lists a total of 40 deaths over the past 15 years. I looked at over half of them, and very few were actually a "deadly confronatation"

Some of the deaths: * One intern died after collapsing during a 1.5 mile run that was part of his final exam. * At least two died following from heart attacks * Another two are listed as having collapsed and died with no further cause. * Another was listed as heat related. * At least two people died in separate incidents when their vehicles hit large animals. * At least four people have died due to accidental drowning. * At least three died when their aircraft crashed. * At least one was hit by a drunk driver. * At least two killed when their vehicle was hit by a freight train. * At least two were killed during altercations while off duty.

Most of the rest appear to be single vehicle crashes. It appears that less than 10 were actually shot, stabbed, or otherwise killed by people, and I didn't see a single listing of one happening at a border control station.

These people want you to believe they have an incredibly dangerous job. While it's certainly more dangerous than working in IT, the truth is that law enforcement isn't even in the top 10 of dangerous jobs!


the truth is that law enforcement isn't even in the top 10 of dangerous jobs

The police unions would have you believe that it was. Regarding people killed on the job, law enforcement is right there with construction work, but most deaths on the job are traffic deaths. Actual genuine targeted murders of police officers are rare, it's about 40/year. The number of civilians killed in police-involved shootings is a different magnitude altogether, over 1000/year.


>While it's certainly more dangerous than working in IT,

I'm not trying to be argumentative, but I've come to believe tech is a very dangerous career. Years ago I recall looking out my office window and realizing that everyone I could see in front of me had a (free!) soda on their desk and most of them had diabetes. Heart disease, diabetes, back problems, carpal tunnel, eye strain, obesity - tech is a silent killer. Sitting at a desk for 8+ hours a day will do that.


I’m with you. I’m a Canadian and I try to avoid crossing US border at all costs, even flying transit. I’ll pay more for a ticket to avoid layover in US. The experience is just so bad.


Yeah, we get excited when we see great flight deals, but then realize they require a US stop over, so no longer valid for us to consider!


Yup, I fly direct just to avoid the security theatrics. It's just not worth it.


> The mentality of border guards should be to welcome guests to the country...

Perhaps they assume that if border guards establish a friendly relationship like that, it will only help bad actors distract the border guard from strictly enforcing the rules through jokes, small talk, etc.

Still, if the USA wants that approach, it could still learn a lot from Israeli passport control. Whenever I have entered Israel I have been asked a lot of questions and the official had some reasonable suspicion about my plans and travel history, but this questioning was still done in a fairly respectful and professional way. The guard wasn’t glum and surly like American border agents.


The Border Guards have absolutely no incentives to let you in and many good reasons to deny you entry on even the smallest reasons. Much like ICE and TSA, the whole organization is built entirely around gatekeeping/policing and will have people who will power trip the fuck out of their job without any kind of accountability whatsoever.


I travelled to the US once and it was incomparable to anywhere else I'd been in the world with regards to border control. I won't go back. I was even questioned by some shady American dude at the gate in London, was a weird experience.


As Canadians, my wife and I refuse to travel to the US or take any flights that stopover in the US. We would love to go road tripping or get cheap flights to visit various places, but it's just off limits for us, possibly for many years, due to the ridiculousness of what is going on at the border and in the white house.

We watch cheap flight deals pretty regularly and have noticed we are seeing a lot more cheap flights to the US than normal, so it makes us think that perhaps the US is starting to suffer on tourism, but it could just be our biases.

As more people get fed up like us, tourism will wane, but I doubt it'll make a big enough dent anytime soon for any action to be taken, especially when it's spread across the entire US, so harder to see at once.


> why the experience has to be so patronisingly humiliating.

It's intended to be stressful because that gets people to crack. My advice is to not take it personally unless they really push the line. The stress is part of their procedure to make sure you are not lying.


Well, on that journey I had tickets for the connecting flight which was already boarding and the flight back, not to mention a paid for room in a posh hotel (in Canada) and plenty of accompanying documents from the main Canadian broadcaster. None of these documents were chewed by the dog and a sensible human being could use common sense to see that everything was legit.

However, for someone with a gun on their belt, having got their education from Hollywood films and with a government that snitches on the world to lock up dark skinned people in Guantanamo I guess this jobsworth mentality makes sense to them.

Upsetting people who have good money to spend means they don't come back. You don't want to be treated like garbage by imbeciles that insult your intelligence. It is taken personally. The U.S.A. is not that special, it is just full of entitled people that think they are special.


If your worst border crossing experience ever is being sent to the back of a queue to fill in a form again, then i suspect you have no idea of what an actual bad immigration or customs interaction might involve.


I would argue that it is in no way a formal part of the process but rather a symptom of the culture in that industry. There is no written policy that says they have to be disrespectful. They dehumanize people and see themselves as superior, this is the result of essentially giving a group of people extreme power in much the same way as the Stanford prison experiment. They have very little limits on their power within 100 miles of the US border, essentially able to do as they please. If they overstep their bounds, their is generally no punishment.

There is no reason they cant do the same job while treating everyone with respect. When you work with a group of people that see themselves as hammers, everyone else is a nail.


A border guard banging on for 5 minutes about "anchor babies" is part of the procedure?


> I have been sent to the back of the queue to tick boxes on forms correctly by U.S. customs/border jobsworths and wondered why the experience has to be so patronisingly humiliating.

Because that's one way that police forces make it clear to you who is in charge.

Also, because you have no recourse against people wielding absolute power over you.


Note that they can't stop you from entering the country if you're a US citizen. They can, however, make it a massive pain in the ass. Anyone have any practical experience here?


Canada is leading in personal freedoms and new markets with this move, ending cannabis prohibition that is long overdue and a step in ending the drug wars.

The policy change regarding viewing drugs not as criminal but decriminalized and a health issue where needed, is the safer thing to do in a regulated market that will improve safety for recreational use and harm reduction. The War on Drugs started as an attack on personal freedoms and made drugs more dangerous both in production and use, spawning all sorts of synthetics that are more dangerous and black market mafia forces spawning violence just like during alcohol prohibition.

Maybe in 2019 the US can be next as a whole ending cannabis prohibition, about 50 years after the kickoff of Nixon's drug wars due to losing to Leary in the SCOTUS over the Marihuana Tax Act [1]

> Leary v. United States, 395 U.S. 6 (1969), is a U.S. Supreme Court case dealing with the constitutionality of the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937. Timothy Leary, a professor and activist, was arrested for the possession of marijuana in violation of the Marihuana Tax Act. Leary challenged the act on the ground that the act required self-incrimination, which violated the Fifth Amendment. The unanimous opinion of the court was penned by Justice John Marshall Harlan II and declared the Marihuana Tax Act unconstitutional. Thus, Leary's conviction was overturned. Congress responded shortly thereafter by replacing the Marihuana Tax Act with the newly written Controlled Substances Act while continuing the prohibition of certain drugs in the United States

Unfortunately, it is too bad leading states like Colorado, Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada and more aren't able to capitalize on the markets until the US as a whole federally ends prohibition. US states that are forward looking are cut off from banking, interstate commerce, global investment and are being held back by the anti-market approach of the current prohibitions.

Canada stepped up to first mover globally for cannabis which will lead to a chance at global cannabis companies being Canadian.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leary_v._United_States


>Canada is leading in personal freedoms and new markets with this move, ending cannabis prohibition that is long overdue and a step in ending the drug wars.

To an extent, yes. With regard to those new markets, though, most provinces are taking the monopoly route. So while production will be in private hands, distribution and in some cases even retail will be done by provincial government monopolies.

To illustrate how the market has been strangled in this regard, there are no physical stores open within several hours' drive of where I am, despite it being a fairly large (for Canada) metro area. My province (Quebec) has a dozen stores open today, that's it. Online sales exist, but there is a legitimate discussion over whether or not anyone would want a digital trail of their pot purchases, with the SQDC's name set to show up on your credit card statement (potentially accessible by the US border agents, for instance) when you order.


Also because every city gets to set their own consumption bylaws, many people who rent have nowhere to legally smoke it. eg: Calgary - public smoking is banned. You're allowed to smoke it in your own house. Except most rental companies have banned smoking on rental property (inside or outside). So the only way to smoke legally could get you evicted.


Good - the smell is nasty and a nuisance for both tenants and the general public.


What markets? Canada can only sell to itself. California has a larger population than Canada does.


Canada could be a leader in the global cannabis market — if the rules loosen up: experts

"“We’re currently shipping cannabis to several of these countries already. We’re already taking advantage of this opportunity,” he explained, citing Europe as a current client for several major Canadian marijuana growers."

https://globalnews.ca/news/4426312/canada-global-cannabis-ma...


Canada sells a _significant_ amount to the US for medical purposes and legal sales.


Bizarrely, the UK is the world's largest legal exporter. (Canada is second.) The managing director of the exporter, British Sugar, is married to the government's drugs minister. It's very cosy.


It also exports an extraordinary amount illegally, so there's that too.

For a while the #3 cash crop in BC, after fishing and logging, was weed. That can't all be for domestic consumption.


Source? I’m genuinely interested in the numbers.


The Canadian government started publishing the production and export numbers for licences medical producers at the end of 2017 [0]. Looks like the total amount exported is a few hundred kilograms of dried canabis and a few dozen liters of cannabis oil per month.

[0] https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/drugs-medica...


That doesn’t seems like a huge amount to be honest.

It’s not unusual for marijuana busts in the US to be measured in tons.

I’d assume total US consumption is probably in the thousands of tons of marijuana?


39 million vs. 36 million. Not a big enough difference to matter.


"Canada is leading in personal freedoms", perhaps in weed laws, not in free speech etc.


That is the most absurd thing I've heard in a while. I grew up in Canada and live in California right now. In general, I feel speaking freely anywhere in Canada than I do in the US. Leave the country and go visit somewhere for a change.


> not in free speech etc.

What's your source on this? Free speech is enshrined as a "fundamental freedom" in the Charter. There are reasonable limits as well, to ensure that things like hate speech are deemed illegal.


I've met a number of people (all American, so I infer it's due to some American news sources) that believe Canadians are arrested on a regular basis for flimsy and arbitrary claims of hate speech, and those arrests are political. The same people tend to believe we wait six months and probably die before getting cancer treatment because of our socialized medical system.

So chalk it up to Canada being used in the partisan ratings war that seems to dominate news nowadays.


It's definitely our media not on the side of citizens. How many lies do your hear about your health care system?


I don’t know, maybe lots? What I hear from my chosen news sources matches my experience (or feeds my confirmation bias), so I don’t recognize it as lies.


You can chalk it up to Jordan Peterson and his fanboys insisting that white men are the most oppressed group in this upside down new world we live in. That segment really likes to paint Canada as the thought-police boogie man.


Er, engaging in the oppression olympics is the opposite of what he does.

His argument is that people should be judged as individuals, not by what group they randomly happen to be part of.

Peterson advocates for free speech and MLK's dream: "I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character."


Jordan Peterson absolutely and completely does not "insist", insinuate, or suggest that "white men are the most oppressed group". I am a really big fan of Dr. Peterson's work and I have never heard him say or publish anything remotely resembling such a statement. In fact, he is completely opposed to identity politics on the whole.

Some misguided white men might think that they are "the most oppressed group", but they are just that: misguided.


Like all charter rights, it is weighed in balance with the others and so can be limited.

So, IE, Blasphemous Libel is a thing in Canada.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blasphemous_libel#Canada


Canadian Human Rights Tribunals often produce concerning rulings regarding free speech [1]. I found this case to be particularly concerning even if the "jokes" in question were distasteful. Reminds me of the "Nazi Pug" in the UK [2] which was equally alarming.

[1] https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/mike-ward-comedian-h...

[2] https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-intersect/wp/2018/04...


Any examples in regards to free speech?


A somewhat entertaining one is that a business in Quebec cannot have an English-only sign on their business; the sign must have French, and French must be more prominent than English[1]. Zooming out a little bit to the Canadian Charter, there's two significant pieces that are relevant:

- the limitations clause: "The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees the rights and freedoms set out in it subject only to such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society."

- the notwithstanding clause: (too long to paste but here's Wikipeida's summary): "The Parliament of Canada, a provincial legislature or a territorial legislature may declare that one of its laws or part of a law applies temporarily ("notwithstanding") countermanding sections of the Charter, thereby nullifying any judicial review by overriding the Charter protections for a limited period of time"[2]

Basically, we have "freedom of speech", but it's not an absolute right, it's limited by "reasonable limits" (as decided by the courts). Further, even if the courts decide that some kind of provincial law violates the charter, the province can invoke the Notwithstanding Clause and continue enforcing the law. I'd argue that, in general, this all works out pretty well, but it's not really that strong of protection relative to the American Constitution.

[1] https://www.educaloi.qc.ca/en/capsules/language-laws-and-doi...

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Section_33_of_the_Canadian_Cha...


Canada does not have Free Speech, not like the Americans do.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freedom_of_speech_in_Canada


Can't give any because there are Government Agents just waiting to pounce if I do.


Anti weed people made a lot of noise when CO and WA legalized retail sales 4 years ago, as if it would cause mass chaos, but really nothing much has changed in those states. Law enforcement have much bigger problems to deal with like a fentanyl epidemic, and Seattle's rapidly growing homeless population and property crime problem.


There's a lot of "monster under the bed" psychology used by opponents of this stuff, same happened with gay marriage. It's an exploitation of information asymmetry basically, most people simply don't have time to really look into details of everything, so the default "safe" position is generally seen to be the status quo unless they personally experience something wrong (either themselves or via part of their close social network, family/friends/close coworkers etc). Dishonest campaigners can lie and posit endless "possible" harms that are hard to conclusively disprove so long as there are no real world experiments anywhere, and have proven to be able to quite successfully delay progress for a long time. Having it be illegal can be sticky as well since it encourages people to hide how they personally are connected.

However some consolation can be derived from it being a castle of sand and thus subject to a real tipping point effect. As soon as some trailblazer does manage to move forward and shine a light under the bed and it turns out that no, there is no monster, the sky does not in fact fall, and people realize that they do in fact know many people involved who were just hiding it before. Then it fairly rapidly becomes a non-issue to the majority of the population as they move on to new concrete (or invented, but new anyway) concerns. Hopefully the drug "war" will soon become the latest example.


> Having it be illegal can be sticky as well since it encourages people to hide how they personally are connected

This is a huge issue and cannot be overstated. Most of us are willing to go to great lengths to avoid cutting off potential future opportunities, and showing any support for (or even knowledge of) cannabis use can absolutely do this. I have personally lost out on at least three major career paths because of it, and that was without any direct admission on my part.


You mean pot is safe, Muslims are not waiting to kill me on every corner, and if a homosexual person looks at me I won't catch AIDS? What about that healthcare thing? I heard free healthcare will turn me into a communist.


>>I heard free healthcare will turn me into a communist. God, if that's the case I would have been campaigning twice as hard to get it in place!


I wouldn't say that nothing has changed but nothing has occurred like what anti-cannabis activists claimed would happen.

One outcome that gets mentioned is that vehicular accidents increased in Colorado following legalization but the population growth outpaced the relative growth in accidents, meaning per-capita vehicular accidents actually fell.

Some data on cannabis and accident rates: https://reason.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/evaluating-res...


Wouldn't that mean that while many people moved to Colorado (some presumably for the weed) vehicle accident rates fell after legalization? The way you word it seems to imply that weed led to more accidents, and the incoming people "covered it up" statistically, but that doesn't seem to be the simplest read of the numbers.


On a state (or country) level the increase in car crashes (only a small fraction of which will cause harm to people) is nothing compared to the negative side effects of criminalizing possession of weed. Decriminalizing drugs is a massive net win from a societal point of view even though there are negative side effects.


> but really nothing much has changed in those states

the cash-only nature of the businesses (because of ongoing federal restrictions on banking for people engaged in activity the feds consider illegal) caused an ecosystem for cash handling to spring up along the front range in colorado.

that made it a somewhat more fertile area for organized crime, and so the cartels are more active than they were. and they can't sell pot, so they're selling heroin.

(beats me if the news has covered this, go talk to some denver cops or something.)


> (beats me if the news has covered this, go talk to some denver cops or something.)

So, no sources then? I'd love to see them, all the same. :)

I've actually talked to DPD a bit. Legalization hasn't led to the heroin/opiate epidemic increasing, at least as far as I can tell.

In talking to doctors at the VA, though, what has gone up is severe head injuries. It's a total mystery as to why, but it seems that legalization is associated with head trauma. They'd love to research it more and publish on it, but as a schedule 1 drug, they can't.


This will be very interesting to watch. So far the marijuana debate seems to be stifled by the lack of hard evidence of what would happen were the drug legalised in a developed Western nation. Uruguay is different enough from the US etc. to be discountable, but Canada is not.

Many advocates for legalisation will show how it is expected to reduce the overall harm from the drug. It will be interesting to see if this plays out in practice. I for one am hopeful.


It's been legal enough in California for years and recreational use is now explicitly legal in Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont and Washington (with legal changes pending in other states).

US national laws are certainly a different case, but the debate is hardly "stifled".


Recreational pot use here in Maine is "legal", but easy access to stores that sell pot explicitly for recreational use has been aggressively stalled and stymied by our republican state government. Only recently did our legislature finally overturn the last (hopefully) hurdle that the governor set up.


> lack of hard evidence of what would happen were the drug legalised in a developed Western nation

Does the Netherlands not count?


No, it is illegal.

Consumption and carrying small amounts is tolerated, police will not take any action and public attorneys never prosecute these cases.

But production is illegal and besides two small plants in your home, completely not tolerated. If you get caught with say 10 plants they're destroyed with few other consequences. If you get caught with a more considerable production however, you get prosecuted.

A lot of softdrug related crime isn't connected to consumption but rather production. The Netherlands isn't a good case study for studying effects on that kind of crime etc.

Same with many other drugs like xtc. Consumption is rarely criminally targetted. Production is. Virtually ever farmer in the south of the country gets approached by drug producers, there's a whole undergeound web of crime, black money, corruption etc.


Production is also largely illegal in Canada, with the exception in some of the province of very limited growing for personal use. Legalization is, of course, legalizing consumption, there will be a government monopoly on the parts of the chains that actually generate money.

You'll have to wait a while for the case study -- maybe until the US itself legalizes.


Production is legal and regulated in Canada. It's big business, and a major employer in my region. The value of my shares in cannabis-industry ETFs have tripled in the last few months.


It's so regulated as to be effectively impossible for individuals to get into unless they have serious connections. I've seen the stocks on the TSX too. I was going by the meaning of the previous posters, which seemed to be saying that all the previously illegal players in the food chain could now step into the limelight and/or that new players could easily get in the industry -- it couldn't be farther from the truth.

It's true that those businesses who benefitted from the regulation stand to be making serious money, and I suppose that is different from the situation in the Netherlands in a major way.


> Production is also largely illegal in Canada

Production is only illegal in the same way that tobacco production is illegal - you have to be licences to produce and sell cannabis products.


It's not technically legal in the Netherlands. Just deeply tolerated in some places.


It's not legal there though is it, it's some form of legal accommodation short of legality that doesn't really give evidence for making recreational cannabis use legal.


No, cannabis is illegal in the Netherlands.


Nothing special will happen. Smoked weed is and will be a niche drug, since not many people like to smoke, and we all know how terrible it is for the mouth, the throat, and the lungs. Creative cannabis usage (oils, edibles...) will find a place, I'm sure. Still, the overarching issue will be the stigma weed has as a drug used by lazy people and hippies. It will take decades for that to change. Once that happens, we can revisit how weed affects people, and act on it if need be.


The really interesting studies will be longitudinal IMO. It's almost certainly not going to be another tobacco, but it strikes me as impossible that smoking marijuana is harmless. Should also be interesting to see what marijuana culture develops when the entire country is allowed to consume it legally.


It is extremely likely that inhaling combustion products of any kind is harmful to our health.


Pretty much - however the differences we've seen so far are quite interesting. Lung cancer and COPD risks don't seem to be what we'd think for cannabis smoke based what we know of tobacco smoke. Somewhat more minor lung conditions are definitely present though.

It'll also be interesting to see how things like dry herb vapes differ, they basically just heat the cannabis to 350-400 degrees where the cannabinoids and terpenes vaporize without burning it, they seem like the best way to go if you want a reasonably good dose control and safety margin at the moment. Avoids many of the issues with concentrate vapes, flavorings, cheap heating coils, etc but I still have some doubts on perfect safety there.


Use a vaporizer or one of the myriad ways to decarboxylate and extract THC in its pure form and you can avoid this.


Agreed. But you can ingest marijuana.


> It's almost certainly not going to be another tobacco, but it strikes me as impossible that smoking marijuana is harmless.

it is known not to be harmless. it can cause cardiovascular issues. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijcard.2006.08.001


Probably not if you eat it, though.


i suggest perusing the bibliography before you get your hopes up.


It certainly isn't completely harmless, very few things are.

Subjective perspective - smoking is really bad, can be dramatically improved with good vaping but its still harmful. One of the great side effects of legalization - health-conscious people have less damaging options for consumption. Eliminated by eating the material, but then effects are a bit different. There have been some rumors on lower sperm count/lowered movement, not sure if related more to smoking any material or something in cannabis causing it. For short term buzz maybe some nasal spray would be great (again, legalization can help this get done properly).

Then there are mental effects - people are mentally incapacitated, usually even day after is felt, short term memory negatively impaired. Long term frequent usage leads to mild dependence, which can be given up much easier compared to ie cigarettes. Can trigger dormant mental illnesses, and amplify them with long term usage (I guess paranoia is the most common one, schizophrenics would be also bad - same can be achieved with any other drug including alcohol, or big shock like car crash).

Side effects of behavior can be quite destructive too - 'munchies' cravings for unhealthy food (sweet, fried etc) - long term disastrous for health just like any other overeating.

I can't think of anything else right now, but for sure there is something else. Overall relatively low harm, especially when things like alcohol and tobacco roam civilization almost freely


I frequently hear teenagers and young adults say things like 'Cannabis is harmless', 'not as bad as alcohol', etc.

The issue here is the initial research consistently shows us the opposite - frequent cannabis use appears to cause developmental delay and may cause _irreversible_ mental illness in adolescents that is in at least one case worse than alcohol.

Let's take Schizophrenia as an example:

  Increased Risk of Schizophrenia from Alcohol and drugs:

  Cannabis: 5.2 times
  Alcohol: 3.4 times
  Hallucinogenic drugs: 1.9 times
  Sedatives: 1.7 times
  Amphetamines: 1.24 times
  Other substances: 2.8 times 
source: http://schizophrenia.com/?p=793

Direct link to study - https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/psychological-medici...

Since the brain doesn't fully develop until 25 I don't disagree that alcohol and other legal substances are dangerous for adolescents but from the initial research we are seeing Cannabis is in some cases more damaging than alcohol and requires further study.


This is why it is 18+ and 21+ to buy it legally. Children should not take any mind altering substances. Nobody is arguing that it is harmless for kids.


Munchies can be about eating anything. Just make sure you got plenty of fruits and veggies or go for a long session of oral sex. Nobody ever got in bad shape for eating a full bag of baby cut carrots or a whole tray of peaches.


Wow. One of those things is not like the other...


What's wrong with the tray of peaches :P


Do we know what percentage of cannabis users actually smoke raw plant vs edibles, oils, etc? Not that the other products are necessarily harmless, but probably less problematic for lung health than smoking a giant blunt.


Marijuana can be ingested in many ways, smoking being probably the most harmful due to combustion.

> smoking marijuana is harmless

The opposite. Consuming (know your dosage, know your substance) can have a variety of health benefits.

It is worth noting there a known side-effects too: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medical_cannabis#Impact_on_psy...


There is a decades-long study by Tashkin et al., not being able to find that smoking cannabis is significantly harmful. I am on my phone so don't have it at hand.


the packaging for cannabis in Canada (well at least Ontario) already states that smoking is harmful, as well as other health issues


>Ontario's new PC government has been quiet on prices, but said it aims to set them at a rate that would be competitive with illicit dispensaries.

Do Canadian government set prices for many goods? Would the same prices apply to giving people pot you grew at home?

Several times it mentions "smoking pot", surely they should be trying to make vaping or other use normative otherwise you're inviting lots of illnesses related to smoking anything.

Does cannabis get cut with other plant matter a lot, are they planning on any enforcement there?


At least until April, a government website is the only legal way to buy pot in Ontario. Since they're selling it, they set the prices.

In a lot of provinces the only legal way to get pot is through a government pot store. Alcohol works the same way; Ontario recently allowed the sales of wine & beer in some grocery stores, but everything else is at the LCBO, (government liquor stores), and the Beer Store, (which I think might be government run, but even if not it pretty much has a monopoly on beer sales).


The Beer Store is an even worse story: it’s a monopoly that’s owned by the breweries!


It was worse before Brewers' Retail (the name before The Beer Store). You needed to go to Molson for Molson, Labatt's for Labatt's, Carling for Carling, Dow for Dow, etc., and there was nowhere to buy anything brewed in Canada but not in Ontario since the LCBO could only sell international imports (by written order, with nothing on display).


If anyone has watched the move “Strange Brew”, that’s exactly what the LCBO stores looked like in the 1980’s.

No advertisements, no product on the shelves, just a person standing at a register taking orders and you case of beer magically arriving on a conveyor belt.

Weird to think about now.


That's what the Beer Stores looked like (and still do where I live). The LCBO stopped looking like that in the 1970s, except no conveyor belt: they would hand you your package in a brown paper bag, and you had to sign your order form. Also, the LCBO did not sell beer because that monopoly went to Brewer's Retail.


Very similar to how pot will be sold in any province that doesn't have the government selling the pot. Local jurisdictions have, or will have, so many restrictions on when, where and how pot can be sold that competition will be extremely limited.

Saskatchewan was especially egregious. They had a lottery system to determine who would get a license to sell pot.


The Beer Store is owned by two foreign-owned multinationals (the Belgian AB InBev and the American MolsonCoors). Not government run, but like many Ontario monopolies is has government in its pocket.


I thought it was something like that - it used to be owned by a conglomerate of major Canadian breweries, but through sales & mergers it's ended up as InBev & MolsonCoors.

Yet they still have a near-monopoly on beer sales!


How would the government exit this deal ?


Provinces and federal government set taxes on gasoline, cigarrettes and alcohol. The amount they can tax (as much as the consumer will bear) is likely highly researched. They want to tax as much as possible without discouraging reduced consumption, or alternative sourcing.


In Alberta we have private businesses for selling pot. I know of two that cropped up in the same area.

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