On Drugs

What Canada can learn about legal pot from Colorado

Cannabis will be legal and regulated across Canada tomorrow, but Colorado has a four-year head start on ending prohibition. Host Geoff Turner travelled to Colorado to see what legalization looks like.

On Drugs host Geoff Turner travelled to Colorado to see what legalization looks like, 4 years on

Wanda James, CEO of Simply Pure Marijuana Dispensary (Simply Pure)

Originally broadcast on March 21, 2018. 

There's no date set in stone yet, but sometime later this year — maybe August — cannabis will be legal and regulated for recreational use in Canada.

Nobody knows exactly what that will look like yet. The shift will partly depend on provincial and municipal rules. But in the U.S., Colorado is four years into a large social experiment. In January 2014, Colorado became the first of several states to legalize cannabis, so there are lessons to be learned.

As host Geoff Turner learned, Denver has settled on a decidedly commercial model for legalization. This is especially evident in the market for cannabis tourism that has emerged in Denver. Visitors to the city can sign up for a cannabis bus tour upon which they are free to indulge in weed to their heart's desire — all with a thumping soundtrack and the help of a wisecracking tour guide.

This episode will take you there, and along the way, you'll meet some of the people who made legalization happen:

  • Wanda James, pot activist, and entrepreneur
  • Mason Tvert, who led the campaign to legalize cannabis in the state
  • Miguel Lopez, longtime marijuana and social justice activist

Cannabis greenhouse owned by Denver dispensary chain Euflora. (Geoff Turner/CBC)