As long as you’re of age, it’s now legal to buy recreational marijuana in Canada. Marijuana advocates like Gary Colmey, who heads up a local push for legalization called Legalize It CNY, sees the Canadian law as a big win.
"Canada Legalized cannabis, or had their very first day of legalized cannabis. To me it represents much more than just the legalization of the use of a plant. It represents a milestone in terms of people’s freedoms. Something I think that we hold very dear in our Country too."
But those freedoms don’t apply in New York. Oneida County Sheriff Rob Maciol is warning people who are thinking about going to go to Canada and coming back to New York with some pot.
"It’s still against federal law here. So I think you’re going to see a lot of American’s who may head to Canada for that reason, and when they come back they’re going to be subject to search and seizures. They’re going to be subject to not being allowed back into the country. They’re going to be subject to arrest. I guarantee it."
The cannabis industry is projected to bring $4 billion into Canada. According to BDS Analytics, the United States took in nearly $9 billion in 2017. Gary Colmey says it’s only a matter of time before New York becomes landlocked by states who are making the drug legal.
"We’ll go back to money if you want to talk money, and it’s not my main reason at all but certainly, obviously that’s something the government cares how much money they can get out of it. Well, there’s going to be millions, billions leaving New York State in any direction you want to go, so that alone is reason."
Money is certainly a government motivator, but the Sheriff isn’t seeing any gold at the end of this rainbow.
"You look at the history of State government. When revenue increases do they lower our debt? Do they do more… do they solve the financial problems we’re currently struggling with? No."