I’ve read the article “Metchosin weighs in on legalizing pot” published on Jan. 18, in the Gazette and I also recognize that there is a strong push in this direction being made by a vocal minority in relation to this subject.
At the risk of lighting the fuse on the powder keg that this issue has become, I think it’s very important to look at this with our best possible eyes.
Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but everyone is not entitled to their own facts.
Marijuana has been proven to have over 400 chemicals, negatively effect the immune system, the respiratory system, and impair judgement and co-ordination. Studies are now linking marijuana use to a variety of mental disorders including acute toxic psychosis, delusions, panic attacks, depersonalization and paranoia.
Some figureheads in Metchosin point out in this article that they had tried marijuana themselves many years ago, but were careful to remark that they haven’t done so in a long, long time. I would suggest that the reason for this is that they recognized it as a poor personal choice, and opted instead to dedicate themselves to healthier, smarter choices, which have led them to achieve the successes that they now enjoy.
Don’t we think we owe it to our kids to create a supportive environment so that they may have the same opportunity? It’s worth noting that the THC (tetrahydrocannibonol) levels in marijuana have risen from two to five per cent 20 years or so ago to their current common levels of more than 20 per cent.
Yes, there is a small percentage of the population who have been diagnosed with such terrible debilitating ailments that physicians have seen fit to prescribe marijuana to help battle pain or stimulate appetite. But when I’ve had discussions with some of them, even they have said that they do not wish for marijuana to be legal for any other non-medicinal reason. In their lives, the use of marijuana is the lesser of two evils.
What about the assertion that legalizing marijuana would eliminate organized crime? I would love to subscribe to the notion that organized crime could be eliminated this simply, but the truth is that it wouldn’t matter.
A great deal of the trafficking done by the organized crime element takes place with international partners, and would continue to thrive regardless of the legal status of marijuana here at home.
And they don’t stop with marijuana — ecstasy, cocaine, heroin, meth, and whatever drug is waiting to be invented in the future. The answer is not found in legalizing everything.
So what is the answer? Well, if everyone would devote the same energy toward creating an environment where our kids can thrive, imagine what the future could hold.
It’s not that tough to do, but it can’t be left to just a small group of people to champion. The Search Institute has determined that there are 40 developmental assets that kids need to succeed.
The more of these that a student has, the more likely they are to succeed in school, take care of their health, value diversity and exhibit leadership.
Conversely, the fewer assets that a student has, the more likely they are to take part in risky behaviour involving drugs, alcohol, violence and sexual activity.
The good news is that there are already groups within the West Shore working on building these assets among kids, with the West Shore RCMP detachment leading the way. Have a look at www.search-institute.org/assets.
—Cpl. Scott Hilderley is with the RCMP drugs and organized crime awareness service.