Opening Statement



Thursday, 18 October 2018

Oh Cannabis: Legalization Day 2018!




Inhale. Hold. Smile. Exhale. Finally -It's October 17th 2018. It's Legalization Day in Canada! I'm on my downtown Toronto walk. Wondering what, if anything, has really changed?

I'm packing my Pax 2 vaporizer. Puffing on a healthy plug of Godbud. Got my shatterizer, full of Laughing Buddha for good measure too. Now back from the lake til next spring, it's high time for a nice, long, urban promenade

First stop? My barbershop in Yorkville at Yonge and Bloor. I wish Wayne a Happy Legalization Day. But he doesn't toke. Nor do most Canadians, with polling show that less than a third of us plan to do so even now that it's legal. 

No matter. Maybe a lot more of us will once medibles, infused drinks and e-vapes are legalized in Canada next year? I think so. Let's face it, most folks don't smoke anything anymore anyways.

Biding adieu, I continue on my stroll. South on Yonge Street to Dundas Square. West through the Eaton Centre to Toronto City Hall. West along Queen St. through SoHo. North on Spadina Avenue to Kensington Market.



It's a crisp, sunny, autumn day with a stiff breeze in the air. The tree leaves everywhere explode in wild bursts of colour. Crimson. Red. Bright yellow. Providing plenty of opportunities for quiet reflection on a very special day. One I've been waiting a lifetime for. Well, at least since I first started toking back in 1972. 

Yes! What a bloody long, strange trip it's been! And now? Here's some thoughts and observations:

Legalization has come about as a result of the largest and most successful act of civil disobedience in Canadian history.  Let's face it though -the government and police have totally lost the War on Pot but don't seem to realize it yet, as they scramble to prop up Prohibition 2.0, in it's wake. 

In Ontario, we can now smoke pot anywhere tobacco is allowed. I am quite enjoying a quiet, peaceful vape as I walk about in public without fear of any bullshit. To be quite frank, as a medical user and cannabis activist, I pretty much regularly do so anyway. Still, it's pleasant. A liberating relief. One less nuisance in my autumn years!

I pass three familiar dispensaries on today's downtown walk. Alas! MMJ in Yorkville has finally shut it's doors. Zen Zoo on Queen West is now only selling CBD's until further notice. The lights at the Green Room on Spadina Avenue have gone dark. Yup! the Ontario provincial Ford government has threatened to withhold licenses from anybody who's still open to illegally sell pot today.

Welcome to Legalization Day 2018! The irony of ironies: Pot is now legal across Canada. However, in Toronto, Ontario, arguably our largest market, not a single brick and mortar store is legally open for business on the first day. Not until April 1st of next year! 

True, you can order weed from the government run Ontario Cannabis Store [OCS] website. Then wait a few daze, at least, for it to be shipped via Canada Post. 



Or you can go on Weed Maps. My perfectly decent Godbud is readily available for $120 an ounce. That includes the taxes and friendly same day delivery to your front door. 

Meanwhile, at the OCS site? 15 grams of Godbud cost $136.35 tax included, plus $5 delivery.

OK. Go figure it out: Toronto's brick and mortar dispensaries are supposed to shut their doors until next April, even though pot is legal now? Duh!

Expect the underground market to be flooded with cheap, plentiful weed. Just go online to score a great deal. And don't throw your favourite dealers number away -not just yet!

Oh brave new world! Cannabis never should've been made illegal in Canada in the first place. Despite legalization, the underground market is still the place to go to buy good, cheap pot. What fools our politicians be...



Many of our downtown head and grow shops are having a special sale to celebrate legalization day. There's 20% off a lot of dope paraphernalia at the Toronto Hemp Company on Yonge St. All sorts of promotions at The Friendly Stranger on Queen St. too. The Sacred Seed is busy readying it's seed bank to meet all our new, legal horticultural needs. Obviously, there's no need for these very familiar cannabis entrepreneurs to shut their doors now that legalization is upon us. Matter of fact, watch for the Friendly Stranger to position themselves for weed sales in the daze ahead come next April. 

Smart move! It's a well deserved payoff for those who've stayed the course with decades of faithful service through thick and thin under Prohibition.

I continue my stroll. Note that there are lots and lots of parties and celebrations listed online. Mostly of the corporate weed strain. Our big boy, licensed producers are kicking into action, a la Trudeau's corporate cannabis agenda. No surprise! The straights are eagerly lining up to cash in. 

It would've been nice to join the impromptu festivities in downtown Bellwood-Trinity Park for an peoples' "smoke in" of sorts. A chance to rub shoulders with my fellow tokers, from the great, un-corporate washed, masses! But 4:20 pm finds me at Jodies Joint in Kennsington Market. It's only fitting to spend it on Legalization Day with some of the real movers and shakers behind our successful, counterculture, cannabis movement.



With Jodie!

Cannabis Culture activist/ entrepreneur Jodie Emery is busy sequestered upstairs with the national media to outline our pressing, ongoing legalization concerns. She pops down. Says hello to the cannabis faithful, gathered for a cup of java to see her and say thanks for her unrelenting efforts. The good fight for open free market weed and our Canadian civil liberties continues.

Across the street, the crowd gathering in front of Abi Roaches Hotbox Lounge spill onto the street. Abi heads out for an impromptu meet and greet. We thank her profusely for helping lead the cannabis lounge and dispensary fight. For providing kool and friendly places where we can safely and comfortably gather to toke, off the streets, outside our homes. Beyond prying eyes, sharp tongues, the bully boys and worse! And of course to congratulate her. Abi's now heading NORML Canada. The good fight goes on.



With Abi!

Heading home happily buzzed on the subway, I can only surmise that with legalization, not much has really changed, at least for me. Still, with lots more recreational tokers being introduced into the legalization mix, we long term cannabis enthusiasts, especially of the medical cannabis ilk, now have a safer, firewall around us. The worst is behind us. The writing is on the wall -Cannabis is legal in Canada!

No doubt, Canadian legalization seems like little more that a shameful government-corporate monopoly cash grab at present. And legalization is a total legal mess. It will still take a decade or two of court action to straighten things out. 

In the meantime? Relax. Fire up a joint. And keep up our cannabis activist efforts. Indeed, I think Jodie has put it best:


New marched.
We protested.
We ran for office.
We created media.
We lobbied politicians.
We formed businesses.
We made alliances.
We used civil disobedience.
We got arrested.
We went to court.
We changed laws.

We did the right thing.


LINKS

Ontario Cannabis StoreOCS

Weedmaps WM

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