Letters to the Editor

Legalization is irresponsible

I fear that yet too many people out there assume that because something is “legal” it is good, safe and in the best interests of the public. Legality is not, nor ever has been, necessarily equal to good.

Canadians are being bombarded with the current myth of the merits of medical marijuana when in fact the benefits and safety of this drug are far from having been conclusively proved. Nor has it been proved to be a safe recreational drug.

Canada and more than a dozen U.S. states have legalized marijuana for medicinal purposes, but under federal law marijuana remains illegal. So is marijuana really medicine? Just because a few chemicals in marijuana have been developed into medications does not conclusively prove the drug is safe.

There are very good reasons governments are reluctant to legalize marijuana. It comes from the plant Cannabis sativa, which contains 400 different chemicals, many with unknown effects. True medicines have well-defined and measurable ingredients that are consistent in dosages. The smoking of marijuana has known harmful effects and can cause chronic cough, an increased risk of bronchitis and other lung infections. Ask any honest respirologist.

It can interfere with learning and memory and if combined with alcohol is absolutely deadly when driving. Add paranoia, anxiousness and the possibility of addiction to the list.

It seems to me to be the epitome of irresponsibility for political leaders, the media or educators to be pushing so hard for something that could well prove to be far more harmful for the public than beneficial. All of which begs the question as to why marijuana crusader Marc Emery, after spending over four years in a U.S. jail, is welcomed back to Canada as some sort of freedom-fighting hero? He intends to work hard to elect Justin Trudeau to crush the “repressive” Conservative government.

Recent polls show the majority of Canadians do not favour legalization nor commercialization of marijuana. Relaxing the laws on marijuana possession in small amounts, which Canadians seem to support, is a far cry from legalizing it. Conservative policies on this issue reflect the Canadian mainstream. Emery is anything but a hero and Trudeau’s determination to legalize pot is far from being on the right side of history.

Gerald Hall

Nanoose Bay

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