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Posted: April 1, 2017

Are there other motives to hasty marijuana legalization?

“Perceptions” by Gerry Warner

So, by this time next year Canadians will be able to legally toke up and inhale a deep breath of government approved and government grown marijuana and contemplate the cosmos in a government approved altered state.

Maybe this will make Canadians, especially young Canadians, vote Liberal in the next federal election. Who knows?

Now, as a child of the 1960s, I know I should be tripping out and saying “right on brother,” “far out” or something sixtyish like that. But I’m not. Instead, I feel a vague sense of apprehension, and as we used to say in the ‘60s, “that’s heavy man” about what we are set to do.

Have you ever read what Health Canada has to say about pot? “Studies show that the average level of THC, the principal “mind-altering” component of marijuana, has increased by 300% to 400% over the last few decades.”

Hmmm! The government report goes on to say: “Youth are especially vulnerable to the health effects of marijuana use because adolescence is a critical time for brain development. Having THC in the brain at such a critical time can therefore interfere with brain development and harm brain function. It can also increase the risk of triggering a psychotic episode or a mental illness such as schizophrenia.”

Pretty far out, eh! And then there’s the Canadian Medical Association’s position on weed. “The CMA still believes there is insufficient scientific evidence available to support the use of marijuana for clinical purposes. It also believes there is insufficient evidence on clinical risks and benefits, including the proper dosage of marijuana to be used and on the potential interactions between this drug and other medications.”

Now lest you get the wrong impression, I’m not advocating to bring back the 1930’s horror flick “Reefer Madness,” that tried to scare ‘30s youth into thinking that one drag from a marijuana joint would send them into la, la, land, madness and certain addiction to harder drugs. The film was an unintentional comedy. But let’s not lose sight of the fact that marijuana is a drug and a drug that we know very little about.

Indeed, the CMA has pointed out time and again that, if legalized, pot will be the first drug in history to be legalized without proper scientific testing and authorization by the CMA. In other words, we’re stepping into a dark void here without a flashlight and we don’t know where it will lead.

Time for disclosure. I’ve smoked pot although not for a long time. But back in my late university days I smoked pot on an irregular basis and I’m not ashamed to say I enjoyed being “high.” But one morning in an Amsterdam youth hostel, where I was toking quite a bit of Mary Jane, I woke up in bed to the sight of what looked like nicotine stains on my fingers. That was the last time I smoked pot! And I should add that I’m a bit of a health nut and have never smoked regular cigarettes in my life and that’s why the pot stains scared me so much.

Now, I’m fully aware of the alleged medical benefits to pot smoking such as reducing Glaucoma and epileptic seizures and that may well be true. But one thing I believe with absolute certainty is that the vast majority of pot users are not concerned with the medicinal properties of marijuana so much as they want pot legalized for recreational reasons. They want the unfettered right to get “high” whenever and wherever they want and that’s got to be at least a little concerning. In other words, they could come to work “high,” drive their vehicles “high” and get “high” while they’re at school.

Something is wrong with this picture. Justin Trudeau’s government is rushing into this with indecent haste and perhaps with ulterior motives and that’s plain wrong don’t you think?

Gerry Warner is a retired journalist and a life-long non-smoker who once baked himself some marijuana cookies.

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