As October 17th and the legalization of marijuana approached, I decided I wanted to celebrate in some way. But how? I flew back from Vancouver that day, so initially thought perhaps I would have my partner meet me at the airport with a joint, which I would smoke outside the airport in the cigarette smoking zone just because I could. However, the thought of huddling outside with tobacco smokers did not really appeal to me even though the law in Ontario — as of 5 pm on the 17th — permitted me to smoke dope anywhere that people could smoke a cigarette. In the end, I opted to do what I have been doing for decades and smoked a joint when I got home. Not really much of a celebration after all the anticipation.
Nonetheless, it matters to me that it is legal, that I can carry it with me (within Canada) and that I can smoke in some public spaces.
The legalization of marijuana is not going to make a big difference in my life. I am a casual user, seldom smoking more than a few tokes at a time, a few times a week. I am not a consumer of marijuana edibles. I don’t plan to increase my use just because it is legal. I will continue to smoke homegrown weed. My partner and I don’t plan to grow more than the legally permitted four plants per household.
Roll another number for the road
As I have followed Canada’s move to legalization, I have been astonished at some of the hysteria that surrounds it. Why, for instance, this massive concern about children having unintended access to marijuana when we hear no such concern about kids getting into their parents’ liquor cabinets? Is there an assumption that parents who smoke dope will become dopes just because it is legal and entice their young children to join them in enjoying a bong? Or that they will leave tempting piles of THC-infused gummy bears on the kitchen counter for their kids to eat?
What are we to make of the announcement a few weeks ago that American border officials can ask Canadians if they smoke marijuana and, if the answer is yes, stop them from coming into the U.S.? It has put an end to any plans I had to travel to the U.S. in the near future.
If doing something in your own country that is legal is now grounds to keep you out of a neighbouring country, maybe Canada should start keeping out Americans who own guns that are illegal in Canada.
One toke over the line
Toronto police chief Mark Saunders announced that police officers will not be allowed to smoke marijuana within 28 days of going on duty. This is, in effect, a total ban on marijuana smoking, since the occasions when a cop is off duty for more than 28 days in a row are few and far between. The RCMP is considering a similar policy. Police in Calgary will not be permitted to consume marijuana at any time.
Taking a more relaxed approach, police officers in Vancouver and Ottawa have no restrictions on their off-duty enjoyment of marijuana as long as they show up for work ready and able to do their jobs. The Department of National Defence has announced that, with some exceptions, its members can use marijuana as long as it is not within eight hours of going on duty.
The Canadian Police Association has asked the obvious question: Why is use of marijuana being treated differently than the use of alcohol and prescription drugs?
A Toronto subway driver was told to choose between using medically prescribed marijuana and her job. Even though she found the marijuana worked better to manage her pain and produced fewer negative side effects than the opioids she had taken previously, she has returned to using opioids so she can keep her job.
Some of these regulations sound like those making them are the ones smoking wacky tobaccy. I hope there are lawyers are gearing up to challenge them.
I’m just tryin’ to have me some fun
Of course, with more marijuana consumption comes the need to satisfy those sudden munchies. Here is my favourite recipe for responding to munchie attacks, something that can be made quickly and easily, even for those already under the influence:
½ cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
2 cups oats
¼ tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
Melt butter in heavy saucepan. (Turn off the burner after the butter has melted.) Add remaining ingredients and stir to mix.
Press firmly into greased 8×8 pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 – 25 minutes.
Let cool before cutting into squares and eating.
Enjoy the smoke and the snack!