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Posted: October 17, 2018

Please vote, but not high

e-KNOW editorial

By Ian Cobb

There are two major events taking place in the next four days.

The first happens today, Wednesday, Oct. 17. Most assuredly at 4:20 p.m. this afternoon, there will be a noticeable odour of freshly sparked reefer wafting about the airways in Canada as cannabis becomes legal.

An intoxicant that pales in comparison to alcohol in terms of damages inflicted on society by users will finally become legal to possess and use.

Millions of Canadians will on Wednesday stop being ‘criminals’ and government coffers will start to become beefed up by coughers’ cash, rather than it being washed back into the black market like it has for many decades.

Many people are freaking out about this turn of events and they need to simmer down and relax. The sky is not going to fall. Millions of people will not suddenly turn into shuffling munchies-seeking zombies nor will Cheech and Chongs be parked on concrete islands asking aloud how they’re driving.

Of course there are sensible concerns about people driving high, but again, will there be a sudden spike in people touring around toasted? Likely, yes. Legalization of cannabis will certainly lure more people to Mary Jane’s embrace and during the early stages, as those people become accustomed to the nuances of the buzz, they will assuredly be hazards on the highway should they opt to foolishly drive. Please be wise those of you who choose to smoke pot for the first time. Smoke it in controlled and comfortable settings and stay the hell away from anything large and mechanical and be careful in the kitchen!

The only thing that is going to change, obviously at first, is the appearance of busy little stores raking in cash, that is in turn tapped into by the government to be used, hopefully if they don’t ball it all up, on enhancing health and education systems etc.

Neighbourhood weed dealers may find a drop in business because of this and because one may now grow up to four plants for personal consumption.

At the end of the day, cannabis is a soft and generally controllable drug that does not mangle people like alcohol, or the harder drugs, or the sea of legal pharmaceuticals that have been poisoning society for decades. So relax, and enjoy the new economic engine that is about the fire up to help fatten government coffers and, if the trough-slurpers in Ottawa and Victoria get it right (and I am doubtful), help reduce tax burdens elsewhere.

Finally with this topic, leading to my second point, please refrain from tugging on a newly purchased legal bud-binding before voting on Saturday in the general municipal election.

Votes seem greater than before

Thanks to the presence of a vulgarity-vomiting orange troll of a president in the Excited States and a pandering dandy of a prime minister in Canada, as well as a B.C. provincial government that hangs by a thread from Andrew Weaver’s patience, the concept of being able to cast a vote should be seen with more urgency and appreciation by people nowadays.

And hopefully it will lead to greater turn outs at the polls during the local government elections on Saturday throughout the East Kootenay. Yes, it is ONLY local politics but local politics are the best kind; the most honest and transparent kind and does that not deserve greater participation? There is no excuse for voters such as feeling disenfranchised by party politics that do not represent you.

In our city, town, district and regional district councils and schools boards sit our friends and neighbours; people you can speak to any time you want; the most accountable politicians going, like them or not.

Pay attention to their platforms and please vote as you see fit. The end result is a reflection of every community. It’s a special thing; embrace it.

Best of luck and thank you

To all the new candidates running for local office, we salute you. Your dedication to your community is commendable for the remuneration you receive for the work required of you is small. The shit and abuse you will take for any number of possible reasons will leave you gasping at times (just ask those running for re-election). It’s just the way it goes. Accountability is achieved by numerous means and the work is never easy. You will have sleepless nights and have to make difficult decisions that impact peoples’ lives.

Good luck to those who win and thanks for caring to those who do not.

And to those leaving local politics, such as multi-term Regional District of East Kootenay Electoral Area F Director Wendy Booth, District of Sparwood Mayor Cal McDougall and councilors Lois Halko, Jenna Jensen and Margaret McKie, District of Elkford councilors Ken Wildeman and Joe Zarowny (RIP), City of Fernie councillors Jon Levesque and Dennis Schafer, Village of Canal Flats councillor Erin Gornik, City of Kimberley Coun. Bev Middlebrook, City of Cranbrook Coun. Isaac Hockley, District of Invermere councillors Paul Denchuk and Justin Atterbury and Village of Radium Hot Springs Coun. Ron Verboom – we thank you for your service and dedication to your communities.

And remember to vote on Saturday, Oct. 20.

Ian Cobb is owner/editor of e-KNOW

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