Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 13/12/2017 – that’s before recreational cannabis was legal in Canada, so language and information in the article may be dated.
Dear Herb: Once pot is finally legalized next year, is there any way that a future government who thinks our sweet Mary-Jane is the devil weed can change their mind and de-legalize it? They can take our lives, but they will never take our weed-om!! Right? — Leafy Lou, Vancouver
Dear Leafy Lou: I've got bad news and good news for you: yes, a future government could absolutely "de-legalize" cannabis, but it would likely be tough for them to do so.
I ran your question by Emmett Macfarlane, an associate professor of political science at the University of Waterloo who's an expert in the Canadian political process. Here's what he had to say via email:
"The federal Parliament has jurisdiction over all criminal law matters, and the courts have recognized their authority to prohibit or criminalize the possession or use of marijuana," wrote Macfarlane. "So a future government would be free to re-enact the old law if it wished.
"One potential limit would be in the area of medical marijuana, where restricting access in that context might violate Charter rights of people who use cannabis for pain relief, etc."
Here's the catch, according to Macfarlane: just because repealing cannabis legalization is possible doesn't mean it would be politically feasible for a future government.
"Another big limit would of course be politics: once marijuana is formally legalized and it becomes the norm for people to have free access, it will become less controversial, and it will become increasingly difficult and unpopular for a future government to undo."Advertisement
On top of that, consider the fact that cannabis legalization is expected to add to Canada's gross domestic product, effectively growing the economy as a once-illegal industry comes above ground and gets factored into economic statistics.
Assuming cannabis legalization goes into effect next July, the legal industry will have more than a year to establish itself before October 21, 2019, the latest possible date for the next federal election. Any federal politician who wants to repeal legalization would have to take responsibility for the fiscal impact of deconstructing an entire sector of the economy.
Of course, if legalization turns out to be an utter disaster and a majority of Canadians demand an end to it, that would be a different story.
For now, though, I think your future "weed-om" looks like a reasonably safe bet. Stay Leafy, Lou.
Dear Herb: What kind of rolling papers do you use? What are the differences? I usually use Zig-Zag whites and am wondering if I will get a different high using other kinds? Will I? — Rock and Roller, Winnipeg
Dear Rock and Roller: Your Uncle Herb prefers to use a vaporizer for the sake of his withered old lungs, so he got some advice on rolling papers from a true expert: Cody Van Gogh, a Canadian professional joint roller. ("Van Gogh" is Cody's nom de weed, in case you hadn't guessed, but he truly is an artist — check out his Instagram account to see what this guy can do with rolling papers.)
Most rolling papers are made primarily of hemp or rice, explained Van Gogh.
"That really comes down to preference. Rice can be a little bit thinner, but hemp more closely matches the taste (of cannabis)."
Zig-Zag rolling papers are made of "a lot of different things," he said.
"There's three major companies that make just about all the rolling papers... one of those companies claims to be based in France, while the other two are based in Spain.
"French papers, like Zig-Zag papers — there hasn't been any actual paper production in France for about 100 years now. Ever since it got industrialized, everything was moved towards China," Van Gogh said.
"There's about 410 different chemicals that you can legally put into a paper, that do different things like change how fast it burns or how evenly it burns. Some of them even change the colour of the ash to make it appear more white, that kind of thing. Zig-Zag is one of the most notorious offenders for adding those things in."
Clearly, Cody Van Gogh isn't crazy about Zig-Zag papers. He recommends looking for papers that say "made in Spain" on the packaging.
Spanish paper producers "are geographically located in the channel between Indonesia, which produces the best rice, and the Caribbean, which produces the best hemp, so they're really just importing the best ingredients for everything," he said.
In terms of the differences between materials: thinner papers made of rice are better for smoking in groups, according to Van Gogh, because they actually burn more slowly. Thicker hemp papers, in his experience, actually burn faster and "will give a larger, stronger and more flavourful toke."
Some people also say thicker rolling papers are easier to roll with.
As for whether you'll "get a different high" using different kinds of rolling papers, Van Gogh doesn't think so.
"There isn't really a paper that will get you 'higher,'" he said.
That makes sense to me, since you're not getting high off the paper itself, but rather what's inside it.
Cody also shared a picture of some of his favourite rolling papers. Feast your eyes on this stash, Rock and Roller — clearly, your Zig-Zags aren't the only game in town:
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