There is a lot of anxiety over the impending legalization of marijuana in Canada. People in some provinces have expressed concern that the country will become a freewheeling cannabis culture, or that legalization may mean an increase of impaired drivers on the roads. Another question that’s been posed is whether or not, when marijuana is as easily accessed as alcohol, people will make a switch and alcohol sales will drop.
Even if you look at the US states that have already gone through this process, it’s difficult to predict what could happen after the legalization of marijuana in Canada. One study from the University of Connecticut shows that Canadians may find that cannabis and alcohol are interchangeable.
The study took a look at alcohol sales in areas that had legal access to medical marijuana, and they found that the two were substitutes for each other. They also found that in the areas they studied, alcohol sales dropped by 13% on a monthly basis. An interpretation of the results suggests that people would switch if they’re using alcohol as a way to self-medicate.
Other people aren’t that concerned about people switching over from alcohol to marijuana. The Ontario government feels as though it wouldn’t have any impact on alcohol sales, and that’s because of the huge alcohol culture in Canada.
People associate alcohol with team sport gatherings, large events, or just a night out in the local pub. When marijuana is legalized, users won’t be able to light up in public spaces, and that will stop many people from using marijuana instead of having a drink. Ontario is also not concerned because the local government will control both the sale of alcohol and the sale of cannabis.
No matter which you choose, if you’re going to have a drink of alcohol or you’re going to use marijuana, you need to know you can be arrested if you’re caught driving under the influence of either. If you are stopped and convicted of impaired driving while drunk or high, you’ll be treated to the same fines, penalties, and ignition interlock program for both.
That fact makes it less of a worry about what could happen after the legalization of marijuana, at least where driving is concerned. Whichever you choose to use, a criminal charge waits for you if you drive impaired.
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