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GUEST COLUMN: Will Canada ‘go to pot’?

Nadine Wark Nadine Wark A hot topic around the country these days is the current marijuana laws and the suggestion that pot may soon be legalized.

Nadine Wark

Nadine Wark
Nadine Wark

A hot topic around the country these days is the current marijuana laws and the suggestion that pot may soon be legalized.

At the present time, cannabis is available for medicinal purposes only and it is still a criminal act for anyone else to access. I wonder if ‘the powers that be’ are thinking of the consequences of legalizing marijuana for society.

In the state of Colorado, where legalization became a reality in 2013, the taxes collected from the sales provided a nice windfall. In other words, the dollar signs blinded the eyes of those in authority who think only of the monetary gain and not the long-term repercussions.

With respect to Canada, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau suggests that any sales revenues be used for addiction treatment, health support and educational programs. (Now isn’t that ironic?)

Some will deny any harm to our youth. However in their formative and young adult years, pot use can hamper brain development, resulting in memory loss and the ability to focus and solve problems, among other issues such as lung and heart problems. How there is justification for the legalization of a harmful drug is beyond my scope of understanding.

Many hard drug users did get their start with pot, although pot smokers will continue to say that isn’t the case, especially if they personally have not progressed to a harder drug.

According to the Government of Canada’s own website marijuana is much stronger today. The average level of THC, the mind-altering component, has increased 300% to 400% in the past few decades.

There is even talk from Premier Kathleen Wynne of the possibility of pot being sold at your local LCBO, should it become legal. That would mean a ‘one-stop shop’ for booze and pot, just what we need to add to the ongoing impaired drivers already on our streets.

There would be the buyers who would, no doubt, stay off the streets in their impaired state, but many would not. The police would have to spend more time when making arrests and convictions. And this might be a stretch, but what next … your local corner variety?

Some say legalization will make it harder to access marijuana, but who is going to do all the necessary monitoring of the ‘under-agers’ looking to buy. Another problem is that a fringe group of people will take to the streets and distribute/sell for their own profit. This would only add to the crime element already taking place.

Former politician and LCBO chairman Andy Brandt recently said in a Sarnia Journal article that we should proceed with caution and handle with care and that “much more work needs to be done.”

Wise words.

Nadine Wark is a retired office administrator and freelance writer who resides in Sarnia

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