Off the cuff: A short history

Published on October 11, 2019 by David Wylie

In less than a week, cannabis will have been legal for one year in Canada.

Of course the sky hasn’t fallen; emergency rooms haven’t been overwhelmed with pot overdoses, there’s been no marked increase of people driving high, and the streets aren’t filled with smoke.

A short history of the past year in cannabis:

Cannabis consumers

The biggest benefit is, of course, no more prohibition. Those who have been convicted in the past of possession can be pardoned fast and free. Consumers have more choice, better information, and (some) reassurances that their product is consumer protected. Normalization is happening.


A lucky few legal stores have their licences, as many retailers continue to go through the financially (and emotionally) exhausting licensing process. Illegal stores have been facing an ongoing crackdown, but mail-order marijuana is still going strong. Stores on Indigenous land remain a grey area.


It’s clearly been a learning curve to grow cannabis on such a commercial scale. From a consumer perspective, quality and value have been hit and miss. Certain producers have developed a cult-like following and others have developed a group of dedicated haters and whistleblowers. With limited freedom to brand, current popularity is often determined by word of mouth.


Investors have been mauled by a bear market — everything from the CannTrust debacle; Canopy’s CEO being turfed; fears over vaping; shortages in major markets; mould and bug controversies; etc. On average, those investing in the top 10 largest cannabis producers have seen a negative return of 57% says the Financial Post. Few have been spared.

Home growers

Scrolling through Instagram, it seems home growers have had a lot of fun dipping their green thumbs into the experience of growing weed alongside their tomatoes and sunflowers. (That is, when their cannabis plants aren’t being chopped down by police.) Also note, the right to grow your own is on the table in the upcoming federal election.

What are your thoughts on the first year of legalization? Email [email protected].