Canada was the second country in the world to legalize marijuana (Uruguay was the first). The legalizing act calls it “cannabis” of course. So much more genteel than marijuana, eh? “Cannabis” sounds scientific, well-researched – while marijuana sounds kind of louche and stoned, too close to low-rent, pejorative sobriquets like pot, weed, hash, grass, ganja, reefer et al.
But it’s still marijuana, and I still call it that, because the people who worked hardest to get it legalized did their best to bypass or suppress the actual scientific research that would have slowed legalization down or even stopped it.
Since legalization last October, usage has increased, as one might expect. In the first quarter of 2019, there were 646,000 new users, mostly male, mostly over age 45. Many of the new users are doubtless assuming that the government scrupulously and objectively investigated marijuana’s effects on human health, and that they can be confident no harms will come to them with moderate usage.
That is not the case. Unlike other substances like tobacco and alcohol, where complete transparency on scientific consensus has created hyper-awareness of their inherent perils in the population, marijuana is a substance so swathed in stakeholder propaganda and ideology that the average Canadian, bombarded by claims of pot’s harmlessness and/or therapeutic value, is steeped in ignorance of marijuana’s epidemiologically tracked physical and mental risks.