Legalize it; an Open Letter to the World.


Weeds never stop growing and pressing upwards, even if you cover them in concrete.

Opinion: It is high time marijuana should be enjoyed legally worldwide.

For most of my life, I had been warned of the dangers that come with the consumption of cannabis. I was told to forget or ignore alternative views and research.

Smoking this plant was considered a heinous crime, and cannabis was the deadliest gateway drug to ever hit the streets.

The Devil’s Lettuce!” the opposers would shriek, with curled lips and fingers pointed.

While alcohol, cigarette, prescription drug, gambling, and pornography addictions continue to take their toll on society and the healthcare system, we’re slowly learning that ignorance isn’t always bliss.

It turns out for most people, cannabis is a gateway to getting the munchies, laughing a bunch, and falling asleep on the couch.

Alternatively, we have looked to the pharmaceutical industry for direction with our health. This seemed the socially acceptable option with sizable corporate bank accounts and a never-ending stream of doctors and “professionals” on the payroll.

They seemed to have all the answers, a pill for this, a cream for that. Not to mention a concerted interest in maintaining their monopoly over people’s health. But as it turns out, the dangerous gateway effects presumed to be associated with cannabis should have been considered for the drugs so easily accessible through our pharmacies.

According to Science Daily1, four out of five injection drug users misused an opioid drug before injecting heroin. The report also shows almost one out of four young injection drug users first injected a prescription opioid, and later on most switched to injecting heroin.

Recently, we have witnessed major pharmaceutical giants coughing up substantial sums of money in court cases towards the destruction caused by the opioid crisis2.

It’s no longer an ‘out-there’ ideology or concept to think by ignoring and shaming marijuana, a companion plant which interacts with our pre-existing endocannabinoid system in the body, we missed out on an array of benefits.

Perhaps as a society, we took a wrong turn along the way.

Suppose we address the conspiracy of why cannabis and hemp were prohibited.

The reasons are abundant and consisted of racism, ignorance, pressure from big tobacco and alcohol, and many other industries who were vehemently opposed.

These include industrial textile producers, big pharma, even construction and concrete conglomerates as hemp and limestone can create ‘hempcrete,’ a carbon negative building material (this means it stores more CO2 than is emitted during production.)

Any nation state claiming to care about the environment should care about hemp production and, in turn, cannabis sativa too.

Thanks to legalization, which transpired under the direction of the Liberal Party in 2018, Canadian researchers now have the ability to conduct groundbreaking research on users’ medical benefits and recreational perks.

When the public ceases to designate a victimless, plant-based substance as a crime, the positive benefits to society are seemingly endless.

Job growth suddenly emerges, funding for healthcare and education sprouts new roots, old-world stigmas towards cannabis use dissipates, and safe recreational-drug consumption can occur, including a decrease of overdose deaths3 in areas where cannabis shops exist.

The benefits don’t end there; an article in The Star states that Canada’s cannabis market has contributed over $43B in revenue to the country’s GDP since legalization4.

For every dollar in revenue, the industry adds about $1.09 to Canada’s gross domestic product and $1.02 to Ontario’s from legal purchases.

With secure compliance measures in businesses across Canada, such as employee and employer licensing, age-gating, child-resistant containers, and customer limits on purchases, any argument against use or risk for abuse is almost non-existent.

Cannabis consumers benefit from access to safe consumption methods and reliable products without adulteration or false labeling concerns.

Legalization doesn’t stop there; legislation dictates requirements for regulated testing, multi-faceted distribution, and educational enrichment to provide safe access.

It enables citizens to grow up to four cannabis plants recreationally in their backyards.

There is no need to send people to jail for petty possession, sparking up a spliff, or self medicating with Mary-Jane. The stress is off the laws’ back because nobody has to chase down grandma and ticket her for having a puff of the good stuff.

The argument for the full legalization of cannabis worldwide is genuinely powerful, better coordinated, and more convincing than ever before5.

Canada is at the forefront. Globally, we are spearheading a legal, plant-based industry and inspiring other nations to follow suit6, and I am proud to be a part of this growing campaign for the legal consumption of cannabis.

However, the Great White North is not the only one…

In Uruguay, one of the first countries to permit it, the legal cannabis market has outpaced the cartels, massively undercutting black market prices while stimulating the economy7.

To quote the beloved Uruguayan President, Jose ‘Pepe’ Mujica’s speech at the 2013 UN General Assembly: “In no part of the world has repression of drug consumption brought results. It’s time to try something different”.

In the U.S.A, cannabis is not yet federally legal. Still, the battle for decriminalization, and both medical and recreational legalization, continues in several other states, including Texas, Wyoming, Idaho, Kansas, Nebraska, and the Carolinas8.

The good news is cannabis is recreationally and medically legal in many states like Colorado, Nevada, California, Oregon, Illinois, and even Alaska! Because what else is there to do when it’s freezing cold?

There are many evolving methods and constructive ways to overcome societal misconceptions, personal barriers, and ingrained fears of cannabis, with legalization proving itself a crucial first step.

The legal market allows entrepreneurial capitalism to flourish (like a weed, heh) where before, there was an empty parking lot.

From brick-and-mortar to production, marketing, and education, business owners with capital and experience can now legally share their passion and love for cannabis with an ever-growing audience of loyal customers.

As retail prices begin to match and compete with street prices, the narrative sways from an intimidating, criminalized element of cannabis to an educated and legal market where society can fully benefit from this beautiful plant.

Over the last century, hundreds of billions of dollars and an uncountable amount of manpower have been, dare we say, wasted on outlawing marijuana. Yet, marijuana triumphs like a weed, growing through the stone foundation of antiquated belief systems.

To conclude, it’s time we give plants a chance. The pen may be mightier than the sword, but weeds are here to stay.

In the famous words of Peter Tosh, “Legalize it.”

Regarding legal cannabis limits in Canada, it is the author’s belief that these amounts should and will soon be increased for personal possession and brick-and-mortar purchasing as the cannabis industry continues to evolve.

1 Drexel University. (2011, July 24). Prescription drug abuse gateway to injected drugs,
study suggests. Partnership to End Addiction. Available at:
https://drugfree.org/drug-and-alcohol-news/prescription-drug-abuse-gateway-to-injecteddrugs-study-suggests/

2 Johnson, J. &. (2021, July 21). Johnson & Johnson. Content Lab U.S. Available at:
https://www.jnj.com/johnson-johnson-statement-on-nationwide-opioid-settlement-agreement/

3Opioid overdose deaths occur less often in areas with more cannabis retail storefronts, study shows https://nationalpost.com/news/opioid-overdose-deaths-occur-less-often-in-areas-with-more-cannabis-retail-storefronts-study-shows/

4 Deschamps, T., 2022. Cannabis has contributed $43.5 billion to Canada’s GDP since
legalization: report. [online] CTVNews. Available at:
https://www.ctvnews.ca/business/cannabis-has-contributed-43-5-billion-to-canada-s-gdp-since-legalization-report-1.57629543

5 Krishna, M., 2021. The Economic Benefits of Legalizing Weed. [online] Investopedia.
Available at: https://www.investopedia.com/articles/insights/110916/economic-benefits-legalizing-weed.asp

6 Hernandez, F., 2021. What Countries are Next to Legalize Cannabis in 2021?. [online]
Cannabis Training University. Available at: https://cannabistraininguniversity.com/blog/marijuana-laws/what-countries-next-to-legalize-cannabis-2021/

7 Dangl, B., 2014. Uruguay’s legalization of marijuana leads the world. [online] The
Ecologist. Available at: https://theecologist.org/2014/oct/25/uruguays-legalization-marijuana-leads-world/

8 Map of marijuana legality by state. (2019, July 17). DISA Global Solutions.
https://disa.com/map-of-marijuana-legality-by-state