While no one can doubt that 2015 was the best year ever for cannabis in Canada, the next year looks to be even more promising for those who believe in the herb. Predicting the future is a tricky game, but after working in this industry for over 20 years I have had plenty of time to consider some of the potential impacts the fall of prohibition. Here is a short list of some of the biggest and most obvious reasons why 2016 will be an incredible year for cannabis enthusiasts in Canada.
- It is time for our federal government to take cannabis out of the criminal code and stop the police from arresting people for possession, trafficking or cultivating cannabis. The recently elected Liberal government has no reason to continue the prosecution of peaceful cannabis consumers and their helpers while they are going around talking about how they want to legalize it. If the government wants to earn the respect of those who have risked their lives while using or distributing this plant, this is the first step towards reconciliation.
- Cannabis dispensaries are popping up all over the place and are even starting to get licensed in major cities like Vancouver and Victoria. Since 1996, compassion clubs began openly operating in defiance of the law and often suffering police raids and intense public scrutiny. However, last year due to mounting pressure from the growing number of storefront operations, municipal governments began directing staff to draft regulations that will control some of the functions of a dispensary, including how close they can be to each other. Once these dispensaries are established and working with the city, it will be very hard for the federal and provincial governments to shut them down in the future when a fully legal system is implemented.
- Legalization has become a huge issue in the USA and with a federal election next fall along with possibly dozens of ballot initiatives across that country, the end of cannabis prohibition around the world is very close. The fact that 4 states have already made it legal for adults to purchase cannabis has made it clear that it can be easily regulated and taxed with few negative consequences. If cannabis becomes legal in the USA we will see dramatic and massive changes in the cannabis industry, changes that are almost impossible to comprehend for those who have fought prohibition for so long. Since the USA has been a global bully, forcing many countries to follow their drug policies, there is little doubt the continued growth of a massive, legal, cannabis industry down south will turn our community upside down and back again.
- A positive decision in the Allard injunction should ensure private gardens are a constitutional right, forcing the government to once again give patients the means to produce their own medicine. While many expected the decision would have been handed down from the Federal Court of Canada by the end of this year, the fact it has taken so long may indicate the judge is taking his time crafting a decision that makes the government reverse its decision to shut down the department dealing with patient gardens without going too far and giving the crown reason for an appeal. A simple no should not have taken this long. A positive court decision protecting our right to grow would likely be accepted by the current government without appeal and will set the stage for any legalization scheme the federal government implements.
- Cannabis cups and celebrations of all types will explode around the country. Suppressed for decades by insane laws, the cannabis community loves to party and have fun together. Now that prohibition is lifting, the fear of being seen at a cannabis event is lifting every day, which will mean a huge increase in the number of people attending 420 celebrations, cannabis strain contests, conventions, and herb-friendly music celebrations. Promoting and networking at public events are very important methods of growing new businesses, and promoters are keen to bring as many sponsors, consumers and entrepreneurs together as possible at these events so everyone can have fun and be successful.
Let the party begin!!