Should cannabis be treated like alcohol? Yes and no

To say that cannabis should be treated like alcohol is something that many people in the cannabis industry would agree with, but at the same time, it’s not exactly an apt comparison.

Last week, the United Nations’ drug committee found that cannabis was a “relatively safe drug”, and when considering all of the studies that have looked at the social harms of alcohol, can the two drugs really be compared?

Especially when alcohol is a very real poison with little to no medical benefit that has widespread acceptance in mainstream society, while cannabis is still heavily stigmatized with potential medical benefits we are only beginning to understand.

When alcohol is used in medical settings, it’s mostly used as a disinfectant, and that kind of alcohol can make you go blind (and even kill you) if you drink too much of it. I’ve even heard doctors say that the only medicinal benefit that alcohol has is treating alcohol withdrawals! Talk about solving a problem that it created. 

But at the end of the day, we still aren’t treating cannabis like alcohol, not even close, and not even with legalization right around the corner in Canada.

You can’t drink in public due to our open container laws, and in much the same way, many provincial cannabis regulations ban smoking or vaping cannabis in public (and you can even be arrested in some places for being too stoned- similar to public intoxication laws) anywhere that tobacco is currently prohibited.

“Ok”, you might be thinking, “that seems at least like they’re trying to have comparative laws with alcohol and cannabis”. But did you know that even with cannabis legalization later this year, consumption lounges for cannabis will still be illegal?

Imagine the uproar if drinking was banned in bars, restaurants, and clubs, and the only place you could legally drink was in your private residence. That sounds crazy, right? Even crazier, could you imagine alcohol consumption being banned anywhere in public, and then being prohibited from knocking back a cold brew at your own home too?

If overzealous landlords get their way, that’s what cannabis users could be facing, although it will be interesting to see if exceptions will be made for less-obtrusive methods of consuming cannabis, like edibles or oils, for example.

If weed should be treated like alcohol, I agree only as far as it should be treated like alcohol compared to how cannabis is currently treated today, because treating cannabis like alcohol has never been the end goal- it’s a starting point.

But even with the legalization of cannabis, I doubt many companies will be willing to replace their weekly Friday Beer days with cannabis, which you could even call it Friday Fried-days (because it sounds way better from a copywriting perspective and may even help the creative process) unless the place you work is particularly cool.