Marijuana in Montreal: The future of legalized cannabis

Marijuana legalization has been one of Prime Minister Trudeau's most talked about campaign promises. But what would legal cannabis look like in Montreal? CBC Montreal's Daybreak asked the question to people on all sides of the debate in a week-long series.

Series features medical marijuana growers, youth addiction specialist, and Colorado State Representative

Daybreak's week-long series "Montreal 420" explores how cannabis legalization will change Canada. (CBC)

Marijuana legalization has been one of Prime Minister Trudeau's most talked about campaign promises. 

But what would legal cannabis look like in Montreal?

CBC Montreal's Daybreak asked the question to people on all sides of the debate for "Montreal 420", a six-part series that explored how cannabis legalization will change Canada.

Below are some of the perspectives heard over the course of the series from Montreal, Ottawa and Colorado.

Click on their names for the full story.

Adam Greenblatt, medical marijuana clinic founder
Adam Greenblatt, co-founder of the medical marijuana clinic Santé Cannabis, says some of the tax revenue from marijuana could go toward awareness campaigns. (Jaela Bernstien/CBC)

I think [selling marijuana at the SAQ is] the path of least resistance for provincial governments just starting to wrap their heads around it. But ultimately, I don't feel that liquor stores are the best place to sell cannabis.

I think that there's already a very diverse and well established private sector for medical cannabis, and non-medical cannabis as well, that could be brought into whatever framework comes out.

Jonathan Singer, Colorado State Representative
State Representative Jonathan Singer speaks at a pro-legalization rally in Denver. The state of Colorado had its first legal sale of marijuana in January 2014. (David Zalubowski/The Associated Press) (David Zalubowski/The Associated Press)

You know, the good news is our economy is booming. Our economy has gone from 40th in job creation to fourth in job creation over the last few years.

In addition to that, we have seen record numbers of tourists. In addition to that, we have seen crime stay about the same or even some crimes even decline in the state of Colorado. And we also have a new cash source to fund our schools, so it has certainly changed it in a lot of ways.

Andy Nulman, Just For Laughs co-founder
The co-founder of Montreal's Just for Laughs festival, Andy Nulman, wrote a script about a Canada where marijuana was legal 20 years ago. (CBC News)

When you see people going to take tours of craft breweries or the Jack Daniels distillery...or they go to wine country and they go bicycle from winery to winery, why would this be any different?

We have a beer festival. Why wouldn't we have a marijuana festival?

If somebody plays their cards right, yes, this could be a really interesting tourism card.

Patricia Conrod, youth addiction specialist
Patricia Conrod says children as young as 12 who are demonstrating early psychological signs of psychosis accelerate that risk quite dramatically if they use cannabis. (Rebecca Ugolini / CBC)

One thing we know is that the earlier the onset and regular use of cannabis use, the more at risk you are for depending on cannabis and other substances of abuse. We haven't fully understood why that is but it's a well-established effect.

Sebastien St-Louis, medical marijuana producer
Dany Lefebvre, owner of Vert Médica in St-Lucien, Que., is focusing on hemp while awaiting word on the Liberal government's plans regarding marijuana. (Ainslie Maclellan/CBC)

Right now, the medical marijuana market in Canada, once fully developed, should be about $1 billion.

Now if we were to move to a retail, recreational model that's legal, we're modelling, very conservatively a $7 to $8 billion market in Canada. 

Philippe Paul, former Montreal police officer
Philippe Paul worked as a drug squad investigator for most of his 28 years with the Montreal police force. (Radio-Canada)

If it's controlled, and grown by the government, that's one less valve open for organized crime. So that's less money for them, so they have to turn to other illicit drugs.


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