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Buzz Kill
Michael R. DeVillaer

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Buzz Kill: The Corporatization of Cannabis

Michael R. DeVillaer



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A wide-ranging exploration of the legalization of cannabis in Canada and what we can learn from it.

Cronyism, greed, and corruption trumped social justice and public health in Canada’s legalization of cannabis. How did we get here? Where are we going? More humane drug policy—which prioritizes public health over corporate profits—is possible. Canada legalized the sale of recreational cannabis in 2018. Buzz Kill recounts the political and corporate collusion in creating an industry out of thin air that supplanted an illicit century-old industry. Drawing on lessons from alcohol and tobacco regulation in Canada and the United States, this book shows that, rather than basing policy choices on evidence, Canada’s political elites created a new regulated industry that would line their own pockets.

Michael DeVillaer is an assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences at McMaster University, where he is also a faculty associate with the Centre for Medicinal Cannabis Research and with the Peter Boris Centre for Addictions Research.

Table of Contents:

  • Section I: Laying the Foundation
    • 1. Playing with Our Body Chemistry: Drugs and Society
    • 2. Persuasion and Influence
  • Section II: The Setup
    • 3. A Brief History of Cannabis Policy
    • 4. Cannabis Decriminalization: A Proven Success Abandoned
    • 5. A New Legal Drug Industry: What Could Possibly Go Wrong?
  • Section III: The Main Event
    • 6. Legalization for Recreational Use in Canada: How It Really Happened and Why
    • 7. Post-Legalization: More Regulatory Non-Compliance and Corporate Crime
    • 8. Green Rush in The Red
  • Section IV: Preparing for The Future
    • 9. Let’s Try Something Different
    • 10. What’s Next in Drug Policy Reform? References

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