© Canadian Press photo
Marijuana clone plants that are used to grow medical marijuana are displayed under a light in this Canadian Press file photo.
Editor: The present debate on legalization of marijuana is important, interesting and was held about 100 years ago with regard to liquor; those in favour of wide-open liquor availability winning the fight. So what’s the big deal now with marijuana?
There are those who would quibble and point out that alcohol causes thousands of alcohol-related deaths annually in North America; many of those killed being innocent and sober victims of the drinkers. These same quibblers would no doubt also point out that health problems related to alcohol abuse cost our health systems dearly and that the societal cost to families affected by an alcoholic member is incalculable.
Is the foregoing any reason that we the public should be doubtful about legalizing marijuana use?
After all, organizations like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) have done wonders at rehabilitating alcohol abusers at no cost to health care, and while it is true that Canada alone spends billions in trying to rehabilitate, often unsuccessfully, users of illegal drugs, is that any reason to deny the users of marijuana legal access?
Alcohol largely leaves the body of a drunk in less than a day of sobriety, while certain drug effects stay with the user for a week, and in some circumstances is dangerous to others on the road or in the workplace.
Would legalization of marijuana lead to demands for the legalization of other now-illegal drugs?
Recovered alcoholics had the determination and moral fibre to cure themselves with the help of AA and others. What I have seen of the “illegal drug” addicts is their plea of being victims and their expectation of the health-care system being responsible for their cure; which appears to often be the provision of replacement drugs. Can we expect better if drugs that are now illegal are legalized? Is Canadian health care prepared for the cost of ongoing periodic “public safety” drug tests of all surgeons, police officers, bus and truck drivers and pilots plus an absolute plethora of tradesmen, teachers and others who I want to be sure are drug free when I need them?
Canadian legalization of marijuana would be a mistake.