You Should Probably Take the Government’s Boring Ass Quiz About Weed
Legalization is probably going to suck but you can make it suck less.
What it would take to make this survey entertaining. Photo via Flickr user SWARE.
Unless you think weed should be illegal until the age of 25, you might want to take the Government of Canada's new survey.
Snappily titled "Toward the legalization, regulation and restriction of access to marijuana," the questionnaire is about as exciting to fill out as the census—but, like the census, it's actually pretty important. That's because its findings will inform the marijuana legalization task force, which will advise the federal government on how weed should be regulated.
The questions are accompanied by a dry-as-week-old cow turd discussion paper that hints at how legalization could play out (if you actually have the attention span to read it). For example, weed could be illegal to sell to people who are aged 24 and younger.
"Health protection—particularly for children and youth—demands that marijuana purchase and possession be subject to age restrictions. The science indicates that risks from marijuana usage are elevated until the brain fully matures (i.e., when someone reaches about age 25)," reads the discussion; it then asks Canadians what they think about having a minimum age for purchasing and possessing marijuana and whether that age should be consistent across the country or left up to the provinces (similar to booze).
The government also wants feedback on the highly contentious issue of a distribution model, listing three primary options: keep the current mail order only scheme in place (based on Health Canada's medical program); allow some dispensaries to open up "to provide an alternative to the current illegal sellers that exist in certain Canadian cities"; or allow provinces to decide what works for them on an individual basis. It noted, however, that selling weed at liquor stores, which is what some provincial leaders want, is not allowed in Colorado and Washington "in recognition of the more serious impairment that results when alcohol and marijuana use are combined." We assume they are talking about the spins.
Another idea it seems the feds are debating is whether or not to allow public consumption of marijuana. According to the survey, one option is to only allow people to smoke or vape in their own homes—something that could work out pretty badly for those who have small kids or live in public housing or on school campuses.
"However, the system may need to be pragmatic to respond to the demand for venues to consume marijuana outside the home in order to avoid proliferation of consumption in all public spaces," it reads. "Consideration could be given to identifying—and strictly limiting and controlling—allowable sites for use by adults."
In Ontario, the vapour lounge community is currently fighting back against a provincial bill that makes those venues illegal.
In what I'll chalk up to a refreshing "twist" in a document this dull, the survey acknowledges that the current administrative and social harms of enforcing prohibition laws "are onerous and need to be balanced with other safety priorities." Then it asks for suggestions on how to strengthen laws in order to shut down organized crime and punish those who choose to traffic weed outside of the new scheme.
While I realize I have spent a large chunk of this article rolling my eyes about this survey, I'll stress again that it's probably pretty crucial for a diverse mix of people to make their views on weed known while legalization develops. (Look what happened when young people in the UK recently allowed their older counterparts to do the decision making.)
So just get it done and then take one of BuzzFeed's "Which Sex and the City Character Are You?" quizzes as a palette cleanser. (Spoiler alert: you're a Miranda.)
Follow Manisha Krishnan on Twitter.