Come July 2018, Canada has been established as the second country on the planet—and the first fully-developed nation—to enjoy complete cannabis legalisation. That will mean a lot of things: the end of persecution, improved access to cannabis, new consumers entering the game, etc. Legalisation will also have a huge cultural impact. In the coming years, Canadian cannabis culture will see new figureheads, new products, and new expectations, all of which change the way that we smoke pot, and even how we do it.
POT GOES MAINSTREAM
In many ways, cannabis culture is as fun as it is because it is subversive—our cannabis heroes are all technically outlaws. Legalisation is going to change that, and we may soon see pot consumed in films and on television as casually as actors currently smoke cigarettes or drink a glass of wine. This will have a huge impact on cannabis culture. Without the criminal implications, cannabis might soon become a pastime of people from all stations in society. Will the happy-go-lucky run-from-the-cops cannabis heroes from films like Up In Smoke, How High, and Pineapple Express maintain their position as the spokesmen for a culture? Probably not—without the cops, the outlaws will have no one to run from.
The upside to losing our renegade mascots will be that they will likely be replaced by straight-laced types, and while those guys might not be as funny, they may be in better positions to lobby for the rights of cannabis consumers. The age of persecution will soon be over, and cannabis consumers will be able to enjoy mainstream acknowledgments and, hopefully, improved rights to pursue the lifestyle of our choice.
It doesn’t take a genius to realize that big business is going to swoop into the burgeoning cannabis scene and at least try to take over. While this raises obvious concerns for craft producers and small vendors, it will almost certainly lead to some interesting developments. Big businesses will employ gargantuan amounts of resources and brilliant minds to push cannabis products into previously unimagined directions.
Take for example Constellation Brands’ recent move with Canopy Growth Corporation. Constellation—the parent company of Corona beer—has paid 191 million dollars for a 9.9% stake in Canopy Growth. Their plan? Weed beer. “Our company’s success is the result of our focus on identifying early-stage consumer trends, and this is another step in that direction,” Constellation Brands CEO Rob Sands said in a statement. Apparently that trend will be cannabis-infused beer. Whether Constellation plans to produce beverages that combine alcohol AND cannabis, or whether they’re thinking of cannabis-only cocktails, remains to be seen.
In any case, this will likely be only one of many examples of experimentation in the field funded by big business. There’s no telling where the influx of funding to cannabis-related research and development may lead. Stronger concentrates, more efficient vaporizers, flower with higher THC content . . . We’ll just have to wait and see what sorts of products our future cannabis culture will revolve around.
In July 2018, Canada will become the second nation in the world to enjoy complete cannabis legalization, which is sure to catch the attention of the cannabis-curious throughout the globe. Amsterdam is famous for its cannabis cafes, where pot can be enjoyed only in controlled establishments. It had been reported that 25-30% of tourists visiting the Netherlands spend time in a “coffee shop,” as the cafes are known. With full legalization, nearly twice the native population, and over twenty times the landmass, Canada is likely to be viewed as the Netherlands times one hundred in terms of being a cannabis wonderland. It is safe to say that cannabis tourism will thrive.
How will Canadians adapt to this international image? The world may be expecting a nation of Trailer Park Boys—will a legal cannabis culture strive to distance itself from that?
Canadians will essentially be forced to stand up as the 21st century global pot ambassadors, to demonstrate that cannabis is indeed a harmless plant, and one worthy of legalization throughout the world. Of course, we’ll deserve a well-earned honeymoon period (six-paper joints all around!), but once that’s over, we may need to pull our socks up a little. Cannabis consumers throughout the world will be watching us and hoping that we’ll do the right thing with the opportunity that we’ve been given.
Legalization will mean more players on the scene—including big business, which will surely correspond to a surge in cannabis-related research and development. As the first developed nation with legal recreational pot, Canadian cannabis culture will be championed as a guiding light for the global community. And the stripping away of criminal elements will lead to more cultural figures openly consuming cannabis, which will surely prompt a top-down reordering of cannabis culture. There will be many changes in the community, traditions and expectations surrounding pot in the years to come, and the vast majority will surely be good.