Three Hills Notices - October 17, 2018

Three words that I never thought would form a sentence, in my lifetime, are “Pot is legal”.

By the time you read this, on Wednesday, October 17, 2018, you can purchase up to 30 grams of marijuana, from a fully licensed cannabis retailer or from the Province of Alberta. Just in case you’re a little rusty on your metric weights, 30 grams is equivalent to 1.06 ounces. In Alberta, you must be at least 18 years of age.

Each Alberta household is also allowed to grow up to four marijuana plants. That’s per household, not per person. Gee, I wonder if anyone will cheat?

Like booze, if you’re carrying pot, in your vehicle, it has to be out of reach.

And like booze, there are places where you cannot consume it. Those places vary from community to community, so you’ll have to check the bylaws, if they have any.

The stigma of using pot started, in Canada, when it became prohibited on April 23, 1923.

Although cannabis usage had been increasing since the 1800’s, its popularity didn’t reach Canada until the 1930’s.

Between 1930 and 1946, there were only 25 convictions for cannabis possession. Convictions in those days, for small quantities, was six months in prison and a $1,000 fine. There were 20 cases in 1962, in Canada, and that moved up to 2,300 cases in 1968.

The Narcotics Control Act of 1961 increased the maximum penalties to 14 years to life imprisonment.

In 1972 there were 12,000 Canadians convicted of marijuana possession. In 2001 there were 71,600 reported marijuana offences and 70 per cent of those were for possession.

And now marijuana is legal to possess, up to 30 grams. Don’t drive around with a pound of pot in the trunk of your car and think you’re free and clear. And don’t operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of cannabis or alcohol or both. And do not attempt to travel across an international border with your otherwise legal pot tucked away in your suitcase.

And, if you are 18 years of age, you can legally purchase and use cannabis in Alberta and Quebec. The legal age in all other provinces and territories is 19 years of age.

According to numbers that have been kicked around lately, there are over four million cannabis users in Canada, buying their pot on the black market. Will Canadians flock to retail stores to pay more or will they continue to support their “source”?

How hard will organized crime work to compete with legal retail cannabis stores?

How many impaired driving violations will be processed in Canada following cannabis legalization?

Talk about “fear of the unknown”. These and many more questions will be answered in a very short period of time. Good luck, everyone.

Overshadowed by the legalization of cannabis is Small Business Week. Well, we’re right in the middle of it and this week’s issue of The Capital presents 40 area storefronts and the number of people who are employed. These are your family members, friends and neighbours. These 40 businesses, alone, provide 306 jobs.

It’s interesting to know that the municipalities within Kneehill County provide you goods and services through 470 storefront and home-based businesses. It is important for each and everyone one of us to support local business in order to keep our local economy strong.

That’s Life.