Hearing that Justin Trudeau smokes pot is about as shocking as learning that his father was proficient in bed and in profanity. At least some of our politicians are human, and honest enough to admit it.
The MPs who occupy the right wing of Parliament Hill just don’t get it. In their twisted logic, cheating the taxpayer out of hundreds of thousand of dollars on expense claims in the Senate Chamber is acceptable, leaving confidential cabinet documents in a lover’s bed is acceptable, but getting high over dinner with friends is a heinous crime. Canadians are not so stupid that they will fall for the argument that Justin Trudeau broke the law and is not fit to lead the country. Nor are we so stupid to think that the rot that is evidenced in the Senate stops at the door to the Senate Chamber.
The debate about marijuana will take on a higher profile in the near future. If the Conservatives have their way we will build more prisons at the taxpayers expense then privatize them so that companies can profit from every young person who makes the mistake of growing one plant too many. The new regulations regarding the production of medical marijuana will change production from small “grow your own and grow a friend’s” operations to industrial production. This will drive up the price of black market marijuana, which will in turn mean more profits for those involved in the illicit production and distribution of pot. The nice little plots surrounded by tomatoes and sunflowers will continue as they have, but at the risk of a mandatory jail sentence.
Increasingly however, the voice of reason is starting to prevail from quarters that were only a short time ago bastions of the “lock ‘em up and throw away the key” school. Police chiefs across North America are lobbying for decriminalization or complete legalization of marijuana for personal use. What follows are my views on some of the live issues surrounding marijuana. Some of these views are from my personal experience as a cancer patient, some are from research in the course of my professional practice and some are from other more colourful experiences.
Marijuana undeniably has very significant medical benefits that are unmatched by any drugs produced by the big pharmaceuticals. These range from the treatment of nausea in cancer patients to the treatment of chronic pain. Marijuana can be administered in a medical context without the associated high.
On the darker side, the pot available on the street in British Columbia is an extremely potent drug. To compare a joint to a beer or a glass of wine is misstating the truth by a factor of about 5 to one. For people with addictive personalities, marijuana is highly addictive. For people with paranoid tendencies, marijuana heightens the paranoia.
In terms of bang for the buck pot is cheap. For that reason it is an easy stepping-stone into the drug and party culture, but no more so than booze and only for those who are so inclined. The best defence here is good parenting, not good cops.
The way I see it, marijuana has its uses. The world will not fall apart if pot is legalized or decriminalized, because for all intents and purposes it already is. On the flip side, marijuana is not the lily-white plant it is cracked up to be. Like booze it causes social and economic problems.
Those are my views. At the end of the day, we must each decide for ourselves and vote accordingly.