It’s legal! What now?
author: Jacob Nelson | staff writer
It’s here! It’s here! It’s finally here! The beacons of…oh wait, those aren’t beacons. I just want to get that off my chest, because Oct. 17 was probably the most ironic day weed could have been legalized. How better to introduce the legality of a substance you primarily smoke, then to introduce it on a really foggy day. Seriously, if I heard one more joke about the fog being smoke from the good ole Mary J, I was probably going to lose my mind. However, the first video I saw on Facebook that morning was a guy in his underwear, taking a bong rip and dancing on the sidewalk before running back into his yard, leaving onlookers astonished. Yeah, I’ve probably seen that video about 100 times since then, and I still laugh just as hard every time.
But all jokes aside, it is a big day for our great nation. And it’s hard to say whether that’s really a good or a bad thing. Everything up until this point has been kind of ambiguous. Will there be more collisions on the road? How will you test drivers? What will the prices be? Will shares in weed companies take a massive hit or will they skyrocket? Now, some of these questions weren’t necessarily fair to ask at the time, but now that marijuana is legal, it’s time to look at some of those questions, see if any have been answered, and if not, can we forecast an answer?
First off, the big one: driving under the influence. The reason I say this is big is because Saskatchewan has a long-standing history with drunk driving. Spending most of my life living in a small town, I have seen first-hand how prominent drinking and driving truly is. Every party, get together, or even family holiday would involve alcohol, and in turn, would produce some shaky hands getting behind the wheel. While I can’t say that this will directly translate to those same people getting behind the wheel after a long night of tokes, it would not be unrealistic to say that many of the people that already drink and drive probably won’t think twice about driving high.
Our province also doesn’t have the greatest track record with drinking and driving. According to SGI, approximately 46 per cent of collision fatalities in Saskatchewan had alcohol involved, and about 75 per cent of those occurred on major highways or rural roads. So, what can we do to solve intoxicated driving? Simply put, it’s just not feasible. Other than starting another prohibition, Saskatchewan does not have the proper infrastructure set up to control this from a governmental level. We are so open and spread out as a province that most municipalities are governed by the very people living in them. The RCMP can only do so much, and when there are two RCMP officers for towns ranging from 1000 to 5000 people, it’s not easy to keep track of these problems. But, we’re from Saskatchewan, so we’re not going to stop trying. And by trying, I mean placing more police officers on roadsides to do random stop checks. Hey, maybe they’ll manage to catch one out of the 500 people driving high that night. This is the point where I thank God I am not a politician trying to find a way to stop people from driving high, so good luck on that one, parliament!
Now let’s focus on something that’s troubling the smokers, rather than the government…price. As some of you may know, the only store that confirmed beforehand plans to open up shop on October 17 is located in Edenwold. And while Edenwold is 30 kilometers away from Regina (sorry to all you city folk), it wasn’t the distance that caught the weed seekers off guard, it was the prices. People were actually surprised to see that they were paying upwards of $70 for 1/8. Like come on people, only one store opened, with no competition. What did you think they were going to do, sell dirt cheap? Now thankfully once the other 50 stores open up, prices like these will probably see a dramatic decrease. But, until then, I don’t see any reason for people to stop dealing with their regular suppliers until legal prices start to come down.
Maybe the actual price of weed doesn’t catch much of your attention – maybe it’s the price of the shares in Aurora that have been sitting in the back of your mind for the last two weeks. “My god, why did I buy those 500 shares? What was I thinking?” If that was you, then don’t worry, because everyone else is feeling the same way. Okay, maybe replace “don’t worry” with “don’t feel left out.” Because while everyone felt the impact, it doesn’t make it any less significant that Aurora shares dropped from about $15 to $9 in the last 10 days.
But again, who could have seen this coming? Probably anyone who was following the government’s announcements on how the drug would be handled once legal. That the governance of price would not be priority, and that they still had no way of controlling whether or not people bought from their dealer who could still supply them weed at 1/10 of the legal price. To those who bought, I mourn your loss, and to those who saved, congratulations.
This was a fun one to talk about, eh? So much going on in just 10 days, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t at all curious as to how this is going to look a year from now. Do share prices skyrocket? Does weed become the saving grace to our drinking problems? And will Elon Musk start his own dispensary? Until then, you can find me enjoying my front row seat to the best political drama to hit Canada since Trudeau’s hair.