EDITORIAL: Weed woes

It's not a laughing matter to mom who has watched her son use pot since he was 12

Marijuana use is often treated as a joke in B.C.

The province has earned its reputation as a producer of some of the most potent weed in the world. With that comes the wink, wink, nudge nudge of pot smoking here. Many see it as harmless, or even the divine right of those in B.C. to partake.

The woman who came to our office in tears this week does not see it that way. She is at her wits end trying to get help, or some kind of positive attention, for her son, who recently turned 16.

She’s disappointed with the police, who she says knows where the pot-selling houses are located in and around Parksville, the ones where teens can get a baggie-full. She’s less than happy with the school district, who she says knows pot use is popular among local high school students. She’s angry with the Ministry of Children and Families, who she says is enabling her son by paying for him to rent a house in Parksville and giving him a clothing allowance. He and his friends, says this mom, sit around most of the day and get blasted. It’s one thing to chuckle and turn a blind eye to adults who smoke pot. Should society turn a blind eye and laugh when 12 year-olds are smoking marijuana? That’s when this women’s son started. We say no, which is the same stance we’d take if we were talking about a 12-year-old drinking alcohol and getting drunk for kicks.

Frankly, we didn’t know how to help this woman. But we could empathize with her frustrations.

There are challenges in doing any story like this (hence it’s being done, in a fashion, in this opinion space). The Ministry of Children and Families, the school district and the RCMP, mostly for the right reasons, aren’t going to talk to us about underage people.

Part of this mother’s frustration was the fact provincially-funded treatment facilities are generally for those 19 years of age and older.

“He is going to be so far gone by the time he’s 19,” says the mother.

Now, we don’t know what the boy’s home situation was or his history. But it does sound like he could use some help. Zoning out most days on weed isn’t exactly anyone’s idea of a healthy or productive life. It’s even more sad when a young person does it before he/she has even had a chance at an education or career or trade or hobby or love life or pursuit of anything, frankly.

— Editorial by John Harding