On Friday, NDP leader Jagmeet Singh told BNN Bloomberg that edibles should be legal now, instead of sometime in 2019 as promised by the Trudeau government.
As Mr Singh said:
“I’m of the belief of full legalization immediately – and the federal government doing the research and the work to make sure that the suggestions around regulations, safe quantities and other details are addressed … so that good decisions can be made on the provincial level.
If we should legalize, we should legalize everything entirely”.
Mr Singh makes a very good point because, without edibles, we can’t exactly call this legalization, can we?
It should be noted that while edibles cannot be legally sold or distributed just yet, the Cannabis Act has a provision that allows Canadians to make their own, provided they do not sell it and keep it out of reach of minors.
The NDP leader also said he’d push to have criminal records related to cannabis expunged, instead of merely pardoned. The difference is that “an expungement effectively erases a past criminal conviction”, according to criminal defence lawyer Sarah Leamon, while “a pardon does little more than set aside a criminal conviction. In this way, it signals to authorities that the person – although once convicted of a criminal offence – deserves another chance.”
Mr Singh’s stance on pardons stands in contrast to Trudeau, who has chosen to give pardons for cannabis convictions instead and has streamlined to process to make getting a pardon faster, cheaper, and easier.
But as Mr Singh said:
“It’s a travesty and a historical injustice.
If you look at folks who have been stopped for personal possession of cannabis, [it’s mostly] been Indigenous communities and racialized communities … even though the use has been the same across all demographics.”
Is the NDP just trying to win political points?
Of course! Calling for edibles to be legalized now is a great way to gain some support and goodwill from the cannabis community, but how much will the NDP leader’s opinion on the issue matter?
In all likelihood, probably not that much. The Trudeau government has promised that edibles and concentrates will be legalized within a year after cannabis flower, oil, and seeds were legalized- that means we can expect edibles to be legalized sometime before Oct. 17, 2019.
Since the next federal election is scheduled for Oct. 21, 2019, edibles should already be legal by then, regardless if the NDP wins or not.
But whether or not this was a ploy to differentiate the NDP from Trudeau’s Liberals, Mr Singh was right to point out that edibles should be legalized as soon as possible because not everybody wants to smoke dried cannabis flowers.
Plus, not everyone has the time, know-how, equipment, or motivation to make their own edibles.
Concentrates have also been lumped in with edibles and remain illegal as well. As a product category, concentrates are very diverse and include everything from shatter, budder, wax, and more, but making concentrates safely often requires specialized equipment and experienced producers who know what they’re doing as the extraction process can be very complex. That’s one of the reasons why using butane and other organic solvents like propane or propylene to extract cannabinoids are banned.
Edibles are a very popular method of ingesting cannabis as they’re a much more lowkey method to consume, especially compared to sparking a joint or taking a bong rip.
First off, there’s no smoke, so you won’t bother anybody around you, and you won’t reek of cannabis yourself after your sesh. And because you’re eating it instead of smoking, edibles don’t come with the health risks associated with smoking cannabis, either.
But one of the main reasons why the government has been dragging its feet on edibles and concentrates is the often higher levels of cannabinoids in these products. Some edible products can contain hundreds of mg of THC in a single candy and concentrates range from 40-80% THC. The government said it needed more time to consider the risks of these more potent products, as the THC content for dried flower generally ranges from 10-30%, for comparison’s sake.