The Canadian Medical Association isn't against legalizing cannabis, but they don't want Canada's newest industry to thrive. In a recent editorial published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, the CMA said an increase in cannabis consumption should be seen as "a failure of this legislation".
The editorial, which was written by the journal's interim Editor-in-Chief Diane Kelsall, harped on the health risks of cannabis use even while admitting that researchers aren't exactly sure what those risks are.
"Given the known and unknown health hazards of cannabis, any increase in use of recreational cannabis after legalization, whether by adults or youth, should be viewed as a failure of this legislation," Kelsall wrote.
To bolster her argument, Kelsall noted that Health Canada says one in ten Canadian adults who try cannabis will develop an addiction and one in three will develop 'problematic use.' These numbers, Kelsall argued, prove that the government is aware of the risks associated with cannabis consumption but is choosing to look the other way.
If cannabis consumption does increase following legalization, she wants to see the government revise their recreational cannabis regulations.
"Finally, if the use of cannabis increases, the federal government should have the courage to admit the legislation is flawed and amend the act. Canadians—and the world—will be watching."
The CMA's anti-cannabis agenda
This isn't the first time the Canadian Medical Association has spoken out against cannabis. Previously they called on the government to scrap Canada's medical marijuana program when recreational use becomes legal. And while the opinions published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal are not necessarily the ones held by the Association itself (let alone all of its members), it is clear that both the Association and its journal are no friends of weed.
But it's still surprising to see them attempt to doom legalization in Canada before day one. A small increase in cannabis consumption should be expected as people who were once wary of breaking the law will finally get a chance to indulge their curiosity about cannabis. Roughly 1 in 5 Canadians (17 percent) want to try weed once prohibition is repealed, according to the 2018 edition of Civilized's Cannabis Culture Poll.
And why not? Studies suggest that cannabis is not only safer than alcohol and tobacco but also an effective treatment for common conditions like insomnia, inflammation and anxiety. That's probably why the Canadian government isn't opposed to more Canadians trying it, though they've been carefully avoiding any suggestion that legalization should be seen as an endorsement of cannabis use.
When pitching cannabis legalization to Canadians, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau repeatedly stressed that the goal was to cut organized crime out of cannabis sales and to keep marijuana away from kids. Trudeau didn't say anything about trying to stabilize or reduce the rate of adult consumption. So the CMA is confusing its own anti-cannabis agenda with public policy to an absurd extent.
After all, calling legalization a failure if more adults try cannabis is like saying a new rollercoaster will be a failure if anybody rides it.