The rollout of cannabis legalization in Canada is not what some cannabis advocacy groups have been looking for. Under the current regulations, we'll likely see more arrests than we saw during prohibition, according to a spokesperson for Patients Lives Matter - an Ontario-based medical marijuana advocacy group.
Patients Lives Matter is taking aim at two specific aspects of legalization in Canada. The first involves the government's plan to close all of the 'gray market' cannabis dispensaries that are currently operation and establish either government-licensed or government-owned corporations instead. A move they are calling "despicable" and "disappointing."
"Instead of protecting Canadians form the criminal justice system Trudeau's government will see more people arrested and formally charged," a spokesperson for Patients Lives Matter said in a statement. "How would you feel if some declared your job invalid? Something you've been doing for years....On top of that you see that they plan to open the exact same business that you had."
Additionally, the group has sited concerns around where patients will actually be able to consume cannabis. People who rent houses or live in apartments may find it difficult to consume cannabis as their lease likely includes a no-smoking clause. Additionally, public consumption will be regulated, making it difficult for people to smoke outside their homes.
"Where exactly does this government expect its people to consume this product legally if you need to own property to do so at this point? Only private residences will be allowed for consumption of cannabis, and the average smoker doesn't own their own home."
So as the battle to legalize cannabis ends, the battle for access to medical marijuana looks like it is only beginning.