This essay is about the controversial topic regarding availability of Marijuana in Grocery Stores of Canada

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Should Marijuana be sold in Grocery Stores, along with Tobacco?

Canada has recently become the first among the major world economies to legalise the use of marijuana for recreational purposes. This is being treated as a national experiment by the government and is estimated to bring about varied alterations in the nation’s society, culture and economy (Bilefsky, 2018). It can also be said that the legalisation of this particular drug has presented to the country, perhaps the most challenging public policy in a very long time. Canada has thus been selling various forms of the cannabis plant through government controlled retail outlets, and the people have been rejoicing. It can therefore be said that it would not be such a bad decision to permit the sale of marijuana in grocery stores where tobacco is already so readily available.

The Cannabis Act that was formulated with very specific goals in mind, all of which were aimed at establishing a safer environment for the citizens. The intention is to prevent the youth from misusing the drug and to promote the safety and health of the adults by allowing them to legally access marijuana, which would also deprive the illegal traders and criminals of the profits. In the present day, one can find cannabis in various forms in numerous outlets, all of which are controlled by the government. Adults aged 18 or older are also permitted to possess a limited quantity of the drug when in public, and are also legally eligible to buy the drug from retailers that have a federal license (Department of Justice, 2018). Making marijuana available alongside tobacco in grocery stores will not only make it easier for the people to buy the recreational drug but also reduce the instances of its procurement from sellers operating in the black market.

Cannabis or marijuana had been one of the significant drugs in the Confidential Restricted List that prohibited the use of three particular “narcotics”. The recreational use of the drug was popularised with the advent of the 1960s, and cannabis had become a very common drug among college students and the hippies (Berg, et al., 2015). The maximum penalty levied for possession of marijuana was a meagre six months in prison, which was later increased to 14 years when the number of convicts related the drug skyrocketed within the following decade. The fact that Canada has finally legalised the recreational use and limited possession of the drug is proof that the country has progressed a lot. Millions of adults use cannabis regularly in the country (Arbour-Nicitopoulos, Kwan, Lowe, Taman, & Faulkner, 2010), which has been estimated to undergo an exponential increase in the forthcoming years after the new legislations. This calls for the normalisation of the availability of the drug so that the increasing demand is met adequately.

In Canada, the territories and provinces are responsible for making informed decisions pertaining to the distribution and sale of recreational cannabis after the federal government declared the dates for the commencement of the legislation. Medical marijuana had already been legal in the country but this new Act further decriminalised the aspects associated with the drug.There could be claims pertaining to the ethics and social perception associated with the sale of the drug. For instance, people who do not support the sale of marijuana in grocery stores may claim that it loosens the security and creates an atmosphere of laxness. However, one could easily disagree with this claim because the legalisation of the drug itself has lessened the need for smoking joints behind closed doors, which implies that people would have more control over their actions this time. Moreover, tobacco is a sufficiently harmful drug that is processed and marketed as cigarettes and very conveniently sold along with groceries across most stores in the country and even worldwide. In fact, tobacco has a lot more harmful health repercussions as compared to marijuana (Richter & Levy, 2014) when consumed as cigarettes or joints, which thereby nullifies the argument that selling cannabis in such outlets would be any more harmful than the sale of regular tobacco products in the same stores. Additionally, it would also save the people a lot of time since such an initiative would give them the opportunity to be able to buy everything at once from a single location.It would also generate a certain amount of revenue for the government, which of course, has its advantages.

It is indeed difficult to argue with the fact that having marijuana products in grocery stores just like the tobacco ones would make much of a difference. Anybody who wishes to indulge in recreational cannabis will find a way to procure it either from the government outlets or from the black marketers who are essentially detrimental to the national economy. Thus it is perhaps safe to say that having a display of cannabis and related products would make much of a difference, since those who want to get hold of the drug would do so by either means. It would thus be definitely safer to buy a regulated amount from a legal or federally licensed store than to resort to ways that might come across as underhand or unethical.

A more dangerous drug is alcohol, which is legal and a lot more readily available to any Canadian who is of legal drinking age. It is common to have a liquor section at most convenience or departmental stores in addition to the one on tobacco, which thereby states that making marijuana available will have little or no impact on the safety or the regulation surrounding this particular drug. Increased sales of the drug will contribute greatly to the national economy, and therefore, it would not be unwise to set in motion a plan for the sale of cannabis in normal, everyday stores.

It has been estimated that the number of suppliers petitioning to be allowed to sell marijuana in edible or consumable form will increase with time once the legislation reaches its full potential. Situations are bound to get complicated as is the case with the Canadian food industry, but it definitely is not long before such products are made available at grocery stores along side tobacco and beer. Any kind of edible is a significant entity for revenue generation in the country, and thus readily available marijuana in the country will further benefit the country significantly.

Ferguson (2018) has stated that the implementation of privately run marijuana stores are the key to dealing with the problem of black market sellers. A possible reason for this could be that customers who are heavy users of the drug might not feel comfortable enough to buy from government mandated shops and could therefore turn towards sourcing the drug from the black market sellers. If the government wishes to scrap this issue, the best way would perhaps be to make cannabis and its products readily available along side tobacco in private grocery stores. Surveys reveal that most Canadians have a mixed response when it comes to sourcing the drug for their personal use, as some of the users feel that government-owned shops are the safer bet to purchase from, as the marijuana available there has already been screened carefully and is therefore free from adulterates and other potential harmful elements. Although a significant number of people are expected to keep buying illegally, the added safety and the regulation of product quality and price might just help in reducing that number, especially if grocery stores are given the license to sell marijuana along side other recreational drugs.

Canada has come a long way from exercising a strict ban on marijuana to legalising it for recreational purposes, and there is certainly more to conquer. In my opinion, selling marijuana along side tobacco in grocery stores would be the next step that the Liberal government can undertake in an attempt to curb the detrimental efforts of the black market sellers who often enjoy most of the profits from the drug users (Ferguson, 2018). Most provinces have very conveniently allotted the sale of marijuana to just the licensed firms, with Quebec being the only one to put a restriction on the people who wish to grow their own plants (Armstrong, 2017). This will perhaps increase the threat from the illegal black market sellers as the users might turn to them for procuring large amounts of the drug. Away to reduce this would be to enforce a centralised control over the production and sale of the drug, which would also aid in proper tax collection (Armstrong, 2017). I personally feel that if the government decides to agree to the selling of marijuana in grocery stores, there could be disagreement from various sections of the society. For instance, mothers with young or underage children could feel that the teenagers would be exposed to readily available drugs, and there could also be some repercussions from religious groups on grounds that such actions are unethical, damnable or blasphemous since marijuana is, after all, a drug, even though the primary uses of it are mostly recreational and/or medicinal.If the government can allow the sale of regular cigarettes, it would be rather pointless to try and restrict those same stores from selling cannabis along side tobacco, since it cannot be ignored that marijuana is essentially a less harmful drug as compared to it (Richter & Levy, 2014), which is very readily available almost in every convenience store.

It can thus be concluded that Making marijuana available alongside tobacco in grocery stores will not only make it easier for the people to buy the recreational drug but also reduce the instances of its procurement from sellers operating in the black market.Another advantage that the country can reap from this move would be the increase in the national revenue, since marijuana is widely used by millions of Canadians and is therefore, a major and a very reliable source of income for the government. The country has seen an exponential growth in the number of people using the recreational drug, and it can be estimated that this number will increase as years pass.Government mandated stores may be the presently efficient way of regulating the sale and production of cannabis and its related products in the country, but the government cannot stop just at that and should therefore broaden its horizons and see the brighter side to licensing private grocery stores and allowing them to sell the drug along side tobacco.There should of course be a strict licensing policy and regulation pertaining to this issue to ensure that the drug sold is safe and the price is regulated in accordance with the government mandated retail outlets, and this will only make it easier for the people to buy whatever they need from their nearest grocery store instead of contemplating whether to fall back on their black market supplier or not. Moreover, it is always more convenient to buy everything one needs from one outlet, and thus, the availability of marijuana in grocery stores will not have much of a negative impact, since the buyers who need it will source it anyway, either from government regulated stores or from illegal sellers. Licensing the local grocery stores will thus help to control and limit the power of the black market sellers, and lessen the damage they inflict on the national economy.

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