Ahmad Chehade, PharmD. Candidate
Cannabis culture is becoming a more commonly referred to phrase in our society. Recreational marijuana is on track to be legalized by July 2018 in Canada. What does this mean? How will it be accessed? Will there be protocols in place to assure the safety of individuals? All of these are questions being asked by our society.
Here in Western Canada, it is anticipated that sales of recreational marijuana will be run by licensed private retailers. An example is your common gas station. Implemented by the federal government, the minimum buying age for recreational marijuana will be 18. However, the legal buying age can be increased by the province if they wish.
Drinking and driving, a terrible, deadly, and family shattering combination. Will the outcomes of “Smoking up” and driving be the same? To our understanding, law enforcement is tightening the rules around impaired driving and bringing forward a roadside saliva test to check for drug impairment. In addition, awareness campaigns such as MADD are attempting to increase awareness on the topic of impaired driving, bringing a focus towards cannabis as it nears recreational legalization.
The Canadian reaction to all of this is mixed. From the stance of a healthcare professional, I find that there is a misconception when it comes to the topic of legalization. Medical cannabis itself has been legalized for almost an entire decade. The fact of the matter is, the outcome of recreational legalization is imminent and we must be proactive to educate ourselves and our youth regarding the use, risks, and overall safety of cannabis.
Do you feel that with the ease of access, there will be an increase in cannabis use? Will education on cannabis become a standardized topic in public schools with its legalization? Please feel free to open up a discussion with our team regarding any questions, or your perspective on the topic!