Again, for some perspective on how legalization of cannabis will impact the population, we turned to millennial reporter and all-round good guy, Kyle Moore. This is his perspective on the rollout, and how he thinks the impact will be felt.
Nationwide cannabis legalization has been like a child who’s had too much sugar; hard to follow and a lot of adults trying to control it. Now, I get it, cannabis has always carried the burden negative stigma. It’s a controlled substance with psychoactive chemicals and self-impairing properties, and according to a 2016 study, has directly contributed to the hospitalization of over 77,000 Canadians. Oh no wait….that’s alcohol.
Pure, processed, and unlaced cannabis can lead to mental health issues later in life if overused, similar to alcohol, and according to MADD, is found in the blood stream of around 300 people responsible for fatal crashes annually in Canada. Now, 300 deaths is clearly too many, but the number is still significantly less than alcohol.
The exact number of deaths where cannabis was a contributing factor is hard to calculate, but the number of overdoses and excessive use related deaths isn’t, because it’s zero. So then why does this plant that is significantly less dangerous than alcohol and has been proven to have medically helpful properties only becoming legally available for adult use now?
Well, it’s because the government needed to put a plan in place to be able to make adult use cannabis profitable, and also knew they needed a progressive demographic to support the new movement. Cue the millennial’s. With Oct. 17, 2018, the apparent date of legalization fast approaching after the government voted yes on Bill C-45, what does this mean for the young adults of New Brunswick?
Well, it means we have the chance to be the foundation of change surrounding cannabis. As adults who have been legally allowed to consume alcohol for only a few years, we are being introduced to legal adult use cannabis at a time when we are constantly learning and developing opinions on controlled substances. This consequently means we are being tasked with either re-enforcing any negative stigma, or rebranding cannabis in our own light; the choice will quite literally be in our hands.
As new and potentially unexposed consumers of mainstream cannabis, we are going to be a hugely influential demographic to the cannabis market because we’re the demographic that will be dedicated consumers for the longest time. Social media outlets have allowed us to see the benefits in places where cannabis has been legalized like Colorado, where they have seen cannabis sales help fund arts programs, infrastructure, and has also lowered crime rates.
These benefits will not be immediate as everybody of legal age adapts to the new market but if we as the youngest consumer demographic decide to support government regulated cannabis there’s a significance chance we will eventually see an uptick in provincial care and quality of life.
Cannabis NB will be offering 200-250 different skews (strains) of marijuana, a number the black market can’t compete with. This makes cannabis safer, and more specifically cultivated for each young adult user who walks through the doors of a Cannabis NB store. The area in which millennials are at risk in the province is the party culture and how legal adult use marijuana will be incorporated into parties and social interactions.
Cannabis NB will include as much health related information as possible when purchasing their products, but it’s going to be up to us to self-regulate and impose boundaries when it comes to consuming alcohol and marijuana in the same social setting. It would be naïve to believe it won’t happen, so it’s on each individual to control themselves. This is a massive opportunity to shape the way society and future generations approach cannabis and it’s going to start here and now with you and me.
Put simply, it’s on us.