Top News

Brian Jones: Wake up and smell the marijuana

The P.E.I. government announced Thursday the legal age for marijuana use will be 19 and that it will be sold through stand-alone retail stores under the province’s liquor control commission.
A provincial court judge in Corner Brook has sensibly refused to give a 19-year-old man a criminal record for possessing 188 grams of pot, Brian Jones writes. — SaltWire Network file photo

There must be something in the air on the west coast of the island, in addition to the newfound warmth.

Brian Jones
Brian Jones

That portion of the province has recently experienced an outbreak of rationality, in an era when irrationality is the popular behaviour of choice.

Students at three schools in Corner Brook will be allowed an extra half hour of sleep in the mornings, after administrators decided upon a slightly later start to the school day.

A fed up parent must have told a principal to Google “circadian rhythm.”

Researchers have long known that children — especially teenagers — need more sleep in the morning.

And yet, most schools continue to operate under boot-camp rules, rousing groggy youngsters and forcing them to hit the parade ground before it’s even light out while drill sergeants tell them to stay in line and keep quiet.

It can come as no surprise to anyone that even eager students have been known to loathe school, an attitude not helped by teachers’ insistence on heaping hours of homework on pupils as early as Grade 3.

Someone should hunt down the educator who first uttered, “We are falling behind the Japanese,” and inflict some serious punishment.

Parents from Pouch Cove to Port aux Basques can only hope this uncharacteristic rationality on the part of school administrators takes hold in other parts of the province, and their children, too, will be allowed to function under a reasonable schedule.

Reefer records

Meanwhile, in provincial court in Corner Brook Judge Wayne Gorman put actual “justice” into the euphemistically named “justice system” by refusing to give a 19-year-old guy a criminal record for possessing 188 grams of pot.

The Crown prosecutor argued for a $1,000 fine and probation. As reported by The Western Star, the judge “noted it is clear that possessing marijuana is no longer an offence requiring public condemnation in Canada.”

Gorman’s comments and ruling in the Corner Brook case might also raise hope that justice will extend even further, and that the countless people who were convicted and given records under such unreasonable, unjust laws will soon have their convictions retroactively withdrawn and their criminal records adjusted accordingly.

A half-century or more of irrationality has plagued pot users. Irrational men with narrow minds and a need to dictate to others have wreaked havoc on thousands of lives. Slamming traffickers behind bars for peddling a few dozen pounds of pot was one thing, but slapping criminal records on people for having a few joints or a bag of weed has been a decades-long injustice.

Gorman’s comments and ruling in the Corner Brook case might also raise hope that justice will extend even further, and that the countless people who were convicted and given records under such unreasonable, unjust laws will soon have their convictions retroactively withdrawn and their criminal records adjusted accordingly.

This should be the next major political topic regarding the impending legalization of cannabis. Maybe people will start talking about it after they finish discussing how much money can be made and how much of it should find its way into governmental bank accounts. Who’s the pusher now?

Iron will

A group of ironworkers has been protesting because the P.E.I. contractor that is building a portion of the new hospital in Corner Brook is using out-of-province workers.

The protesters are qualified to do the work, they live in the Corner Brook area, they don’t have jobs, and they need and want jobs.

It seems preposterous that the provincial government will pay the bill, but the money will go to workers from outside this province.

Pre-1988, these arguments would have been persuasive.

But this is 2018, and for 30 years anyone who presented a case similar to the ironworkers’ has been told, “Free trade is good.”

The Newfoundland ironworkers are being shafted because of the free-trade philosophy, a tenet of which is that companies can move work, and workers, across borders with little or no interference from governments.

It will get worse. When the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) kicks in, European companies will be able to win contracts in Newfoundland and elsewhere in Canada, and bring in workers from much further afield.

Brian Jones is a desk editor at The Telegram. He can be reached at bjones@thetelegram.com.

Recent Stories