Does Canada need le­gal­ized recre­ational mar­i­juana?

The Gulf News (Port aux Basques) - - EDITORIAL -

Many Cana­di­ans are be­com­ing in­creas­ingly con­cerned with the fed­eral gov­ern­ment’s pro­posed le­gal­iza­tion of recre­ational mar­i­juana.

Rig­or­ous sci­en­tific stud­ies are not avail­able on its long-term ef­fects to users. Quite the op­po­site, what is avail­able points to an ir­re­versible neu­ro­log­i­cal de­gen­er­a­tion, in par­tic­u­lar for young peo­ple.

It took more than 400 years of in­gest­ing the to­bacco drug into the hu­man body be­fore the weight of ev­i­dence was ac­cepted by the ma­jor­ity of gov­ern­ments that it was a dis­as­ter to hu­man life. Mar­i­juana has been avail­able by pre­scrip­tion since 2001, nev­er­the­less a sim­ple breath test the Cana­dian Med­i­cal As­so­ci­a­tion be­lieved it to be of suf­fi­cient im­por­tance to pub­licly ex­press their con­cerns with the leg­is­la­tion which per­mits gen­eral, over­the-counter sale of what could be a dan­ger­ous long-term de­bil­i­tat­ing drug.

Surely Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau’s rev­e­la­tion that his younger brother Michel, who at one point was charged with a crim­i­nal of­fence for pos­ses­sion of a small amount of mar­i­juana and could have re­ceived a crim­i­nal record had it not been for the timely in­ter­ven­tion of his pow­er­ful po­lit­i­cal fa­ther, offers no as­sur­ance that long-term us­age of the drug is safe for hu­man con­sump­tion. There are ways of deal­ing with the pos­ses­sion of a small amount by clas­si­fy­ing it as a mis­de­meanor rather than a crim­i­nal of­fence.

Un­like al­co­hol users oper­at­ing a mo­tor ve­hi­cle on the high­way, a sim­ple mo­bile breath test can quickly ver­ify im­pair­ment, whereas in the case of mar­i­juana there is no such sim­ple tech­nol­ogy avail­able. Fur­ther­more, there is no in­tent to har­mo­nize the use of the drug through­out Canada. There­fore, much of the de­ci­sion-mak­ing re­gard­ing use, polic­ing, charg­ing and sen­tenc­ing will be left to the prov­inces. This will likely prove to be a cum­ber­some night­mare for prov­inces, with very lit­tle in the way of re­turn.

Some of the Amer­i­can states have le­gal­ized mar­i­juana, but the ex­per­i­ments have been far from trou­ble-free. The Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion re­viewed the sit­u­a­tion and stated they have no plans to le­gal­ize it through­out their coun­try.

Should it be le­gal­ized in Canada, this will add a fur­ther con­tentious di­men­sion to our coun­try’s de­sire to main­tain has­sle-free, open bor­ders with our Amer­i­can neigh­bours.

More con­cerned groups and ci­ti­zens should ex­press their views to the fed­eral gov­ern­ment on the pro­posed le­gal­iza­tion of this drug be­fore it is too late.

T.E. Bursey St. Philip’s

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