After Canada became the first G7 country to legalize cannabis, it became obvious that more countries are going to join. Currently, cannabis is legal in many countries including Uruguay, Colombia, and Jamaica and the question is no longer whether other countries will legalize but rather which country will legalize it next. With acceptance in more than 23 states in America and support by more than 50% of both the British and Chinese populations in recent surveys, this plant may soon be legal in all G7 countries and maybe the whole world. However, after nearly a century of being illegalized in many countries including being named as a dangerous drug in the UN, its legalization is bound to change the world in many ways. These are the 10 things to expect if marijuana achieves full legalization.
1. More Users but Fewer Smokers
Legal cannabis is expected to be consumed more as a flavor than being smoked according to studies on the Canadian legalization. While the novelty factor is highly associated with the rise in the number of new users, many people still use cannabis mostly in secret and they will come out. With legalization, there will be advertisements and high accessibility meaning anyone who prefers cannabis’s softer side effects
The best way to get high will involve drinking or eating cannabis in food. This way, the effects take over the user at a slower rate but they last for long and every user is likely to enjoy this. Moreover, the stigma associated with cannabis smoking will not be inherited in marijuana-infused foods, this way, you get to use cannabis without risking any judgment. Traffic rules are also the main cause for this trend, an officer will suspect you more easily if you smoke than when you eat or drink cannabis in food.
2. Aggressive Marijuana Adverts
Ever imagined a giant billboard advertising the store that sells the best weed in town on the roadside? In every industry, as competition increases, advertising becomes very important. It will be strange in the beginning, but the adverts will eventually pop up all over. In America today, seeing a TV advert of a marijuana store is weird. However, as more people use and sell, advertising becomes necessary. A few decades ago, no one expected to see whiskey, cigarettes or even condoms advertised on TV but today they are all over. With the competition on quality and a race for more food sales, bakeries including “weed cake” won’t be rare. Just like cigarettes, the companies will include the side effects and minimum legal age in the advert.
3. Marijuana Cigarettes
The number of people trying to stop smoking tobacco increases yearly while more people are smoking cannabis. What do you think these people will do if their cigarette brand contains less addictive cannabis instead? Tobacco has been smoked for years although people hate it, the irony with cannabis is that the users love it. Tobacco and cannabis have little in common except being smoked, but tobacco companies are the most equipped institutions to package and sell lots of recreational marijuana.
Addiction and the damage even to passive smokers related to tobacco have given the companies a hard time for many years. In America alone, tobacco companies are forced to pay billions every year because of the product they sell. With shrinking global tobacco consumption, these companies seriously needed a way to expand, and cannabis seems to be their next best venture.
As cannabis is legalized in more countries, more people are expected to take it up as their main recreational drug. this will be bad news for cigarette manufacturers. In 2016, Imperial brands invested $20 million in the Israeli based cannabis research company creating a cannabis inhaler for administering accurate doses. In anticipation of the nationwide legalization of cannabis in Canada, American tobacco giants rushed in to invest in Cannabis companies. With the expectation of more revenues, you can expect cannabis cigarettes in the market replacing the pure tobacco brands.
4. More Cannabis Flavored Food and Drinks
Using cannabis in any form has a positive impact on appetite making people feel hungrier and of course love the taste of food. This is the reason for the popularity of Brownie Mary, the weed cake lady that taught the world how marijuana can help sick people eat better. With this impact, medical cannabis became the most common flavor for reintroducing appetite to patients but the love has long spread to healthy people who enjoy it in their food and drinks. Unlike tobacco, cocaine, and alcohol, cannabis can bond with almost any food or drink and retain its effectiveness.
As the designated flavor of the century, cannabis can be used in any food company from bakeries to breweries. The first company to benefit from cannabis legalization was Coca-Cola which was already designing a formula for cannabis flavored soft drinks for Canada anticipating the legalization. Weed cakes and chocolates hit the streets in Canada days after the legalization of the drug. With legalization, there will be increased production and innovation. People will find more fun ways of delivering cannabis to their customers and just like vanilla, this may be the next global flavor.
5. Vast Cannabis Fields
The demand for cannabis cannot be supported by the small indoor cultivations even with the current legal barriers. With international legalization, outdoor farming will be unavoidable. Many people are likely to tap into the fast-growing cannabis crops which are cheap to grow compared to corn and vegetables. The Canadian government projected a $5 billion annual revenue from cannabis sales, the value may rise to hundreds of billions on a global scale and everyone will try to tap into the market.
In economics, demand drives the market. When shops opened in Canada to sell cannabis to the public on the first day, they learned that they just didn’t have enough. Most shops ran out of stock in hours. This is a pointer to the high demand that cannabis legalization will pose to the world. Since both farmers and big companies follow the money, many people are likely to replace corn farms with marijuana if the government will allow it.
6. More Cannabis Pain Medication
Opioids are stronger and more addictive than cocaine but they are currently the world’s top pain medication. Opioids caused more than 70,000 overdose deaths in the US in 2017 resulting in a health crisis which made scientists consider marijuana even more. It is also accused of causing addiction that forces patients to use heroin and cocaine which imitates its effects to sooth the addiction. Most pharmaceutical companies are seeking less lethal ingredients for pain medication and medical cannabis seems to be gaining more popularity even in countries where recreational cannabis is still illegal. Medical cannabis has been in use for decades due to its power to relieve pain effectively without overdose and addiction risks.
The discussion on whether THC, the most active component of cannabis, is a better pain reliever is not in America alone, labs across Europe have taken up the task trying to establish a way of relieving pain cheaply and effectively. With international legalization, more scientists are likely to join the research. The end result may be a mixture of THC with other pain-relieving ingredients or its pure form becoming a famous painkiller. Either way, medical cannabis as a pain reliever may actually be a life saver.
7. Less of the Black Market
Once legalized, quality and quantity of marijuana will be improved but regulated for both health and thrill. The main problem with the black market is the violence associated with their business, and of course, they don’t pay tax. Ever imagined how all the pot reaches the streets and where it comes from? Every joint of cannabis sold illegally at the street level is a direct product from a well-equipped industry with producers and retailers. This industry has not been tapped in many countries meaning legal cannabis will render these people jobless.
Since illegalization in the 1930s, over 60% of cannabis sales are controlled by the black market including large drug syndicates such as the Sinaloa. Legalizing cannabis will definitely push these people out of business although the process will be slow and strenuous. Despite being an illicit drug, cannabis is used in almost every country in the world making it one of the most prized commodities in the black market. With mainstream companies legally controlling production and sales, the syndicates will have less market.
8. The Rise of Marijuana Experts
Because of its illegal nature, many people that really understand cannabis could not come out and participate in nation building as marijuana experts. Being an expert in a demonized industry automatically makes you an outcast among professionals and this is the case for many people that understand cannabis. Most of the people who understand cannabis cultivation and processing have never really received appreciation in many industries. With widespread cultivation and consumption expected, more training and public awareness will be a must meaning every expert will be brought on board.
Most of the indoor cultivators of cannabis are likely to come out and help the world develop better weed. Every new farmer, distributor or dealer will require a professional opinion. The fact, however, is that there are very few people who went to school just to study cannabis, most of them are self-trained individuals some at the risk of long jail terms. Since many people will be gambling their way through the new industry, these people will still come in handy.
9. New Traffic Rules: Don’t Smoke and Drive
Alcohol consumption makes you a dangerous driver depending on your Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) which can be determined through your breath. However, to determine if you have smoked too much cannabis, a police officer will have to take your saliva or urine sample and the process is long and sometimes too inconvenient to be carried out on the roadside. cannabis can also be detected in your body fluids months after use meaning you may easily be convicted for last month’s joint. This means integrating marijuana into traffic rules will be hard for most countries. It will just be very hard for smokers to drive even if it is legal.
Most traffic officials are just likely to detain you if they suspect you are stoned as is the case in Canada. Canada put the cap for stoned drivers at 3 nanograms of THC. cannabis, however, affects people differently and the same level of smoking may bring out very different results in different people making any form of smoking and driving dangerous. There is no exact amount of cannabis that has been determined as the actual breaking point for the body as is the case with alcohol. As a result, most countries will simply ban you from driving if you smoked.
10. Many Amnesties for Cannabis Convicts
In America, marijuana-related cases accounted for over 40% of drug-related cases before 23 states legalized it. When Portugal decriminalized cannabis, the crime rate went down. In Canada however, the main question was what to do with cannabis possession convicts standing at 150,000 strong. The prime minister agreed to free them although traffickers were not as lucky. Many people in prisons worldwide were arrested and convicted for possession, distributing or using cannabis. This effect will definitely spread to any nation that chooses to accept cannabis for recreational use.
Freeing large-scale traffickers is the hardest part of the process because most of them had to get involved in other crimes while trading in cannabis. Many pro-legalization activists point at the cost of managing marijuana-related crimes as unnecessary. Legalizing will allow many countries to decongest their prisons and focus on more serious crimes.