The recent cannabis legalization efforts beginning in Canada has illuminated some obvious questions and offered some rather interesting insights. How will legalization in Canada affect the United States?

The Respected Neighbor Influence

Most of us grew up with those neighbors who eventually became friends and then even a part of our lives. Living next door to someone for five, ten or twenty years can produce that kind of situation. The kids grew up together, the parents spent weeks together helping with that remodel or just evenings in the backyard over the grill. There was a respect gained for those neighbors, their work-ethic, moral character and just for who they were – your neighbors. That is a microcosm of the relationship between the United States and Canada.

Now this hypothetical story takes a turn. Imagine that the state border ran between your neighbors property and your own property. To complete the scenario, let us pretend that your neighbor was also technically living in a state that had approved recreational use of cannabis (like any of the current eight states to have done so in the United States).

One day as you are out enjoying the beautiful spring day and doing some yard work you notice that your neighbor is smoking, but this isn’t a regular cigarette. In fact, it is a marijuana cigarette. All those years of knowing who these people are, the years had revealed a character and moral structure you have come to respect and even admire. That is the real perspective that United States citizens may likely have of their Canadian neighbors. Now, the facts…

Canada Looks Like All Systems Go

As of this writing, it is likely that Canadian legislation for legalization has already been announced by the Canadian Prime Minister. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the Canadian government, the Prime Minister would be the equivalent of the President of the United States. The announcement of this legislation was expected to be delivered in early April. By the way, this isn’t legislation for a province of Canada, this is a legislative decree that is nationwide.

For a country like the United States who has maintained the classification of cannabis as a schedule I substance, this action by Canada should at least create some small tremors. According to the story, the experts and politicians seemingly agree regarding Canada’s cannabis legalization impact on the United States. That leads to the real question facing lawmakers, advocates for and against legalization and an entire country of citizens.

A Neighbor’s Reaction

So exactly what will the US do when cannabis is legal in Canada? How will this impact the current laws and the ongoing legalization efforts in the United States? The general consensus is that any effectual change will be minimal, at least for the foreseeable future. The attitude, momentum and pressure regarding how cannabis is viewed and the legalization process, however, will definitely be intensified.
Canada would only be the second country to take such action regarding marijuana policy, but these are neighbors – not some faction of people on the other side of the planet. Do we instantly lose all respect for that long-time neighbor. Does this change our entire perspective on their character and moral compass we’ve come to consider akin to our own?

Answers Coming Soon

Canada’s fast track to legalizing cannabis means that we will soon be aware of what kind of impact this has and how the United States responds. Based on a recent poll from last year, support for cannabis use reached a record level of 60% in America.

The United States won’t likely see any real legislative impact in their own right, or witness any widespread policy changes soon, but we could feel the impact immediately. That may not be the victory that cannabis proponents were hoping for, but it is a win.

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