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Letter: Does Canada need legalized recreational marijuana?

Published on July 15, 2017

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, over-the-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.

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.

T.E. Bursey
St. Philip’s