When it comes to pot, Just Say Know

Get rid of prejudices and stereotypes in deliberation of the issue

Halloween is far behind us and Remembrance Day is just a memory, so I guess now it’s time for the next big thing.

No, not Christmas. That’s not until what, the end of December? I’m talking about the next big thing — Drug Awareness Week.

Now just chill before you haul out that spliff or start honking a gagger in celebration. That’s not what this is about and besides, the herb is not yet legal in British Columbia and the federal Tories are — as usual —  moving in the exact opposite direction from common sense and decency on the issue.

With more and more Canadians being thrown in jail and tagged with a criminal record for preferring the marijuana high to the alcohol one, there’s clearly still a long way to go in this fight.

I put it to you: which is more harmful, a bag of weed or a criminal record? I would suggest the latter.

There’s much room for optimism, though. The victories of the pro-marijuana legalization initiatives in two states south of the border show they at least have come a very long way from the days of Barbara Bush and her “Just Say N… nnnnn…. Nnnnnnnn…” campaign.

Sorry —  always had a hard time with that word.

Perhaps during Drug Awareness Week, the elder Mrs. Bush wouldn’t mind if I suggested a small and relatively friendly amendment to her simplistic answer to the allure of mind altering substances — “Just Say Know.”

Just Say Know means getting rid of prejudices and looking at the facts on the ground before making up your mind about where you stand on the many issues involved with drug policies in this country.

Just Say Know means rather than reacting at a gut level to the stereotype of dirty hippies being the only people who smoke marijuana, taking a rational look at the costs and the benefits of various forms of public policy.

On the marijuana issue at least, I’ve done that and I know where I stand.

I think we should give the drug gangs a jolly good kick in the head by legalizing it.

Let people grow a few marijuana plants for their own personal consumption and sell it in regulated outlets, such as liquor stores. Tax it to fund social programs and keep it out of the hands of kids, just like we do with booze.

There’s an awful lot of pot smokers out there, so the tax revenue would be substantial — something in the order of half a billion dollars every year.

We could continue on with the drug war of course, as the current embarrassment of a federal government seems hell bent on doing. But it sure isn’t working out well for the Mexicans. Nothing like decapitated heads at the side of the road to bring in the touristos, eh? Is that what we want up here? Because that’s what we’ll get with the crackdown against pot as the mom and pop growers, the backbone of the underground economy in this province for decades, will be replaced by seriously hardcore criminals — people who already have no scruples and nothing to lose.

It’s time we got real here. Gangs don’t sell pot because of the social status it brings. They do it for the money. Period. This weed that grows just about anywhere on earth is worth far, far more than it should be, simply because it’s illegal. Take away the obscene profits and you take away the gangs.

The war on pot is an expensive failure. Legalize it. Regulate it. Move on.



Neil Horner is the assistant editor of the Parksville Qualicum Beach News.


Just Posted

Qualicum district students to develop experiments that could head into space

Youngsters compete to have designs reach International Space Station

‘Police are ready’ for legal pot, say Canadian chiefs

But Canadians won’t see major policing changes as pot becomes legal

Qualicum Beach moves on grant for Eaglecrest roundabout

Council votes unanimously to have staff push for application

Dying motorcyclist from Coombs gets last-ride tribute

Friends grant Corinna Pitney’s wish ‘to hear bikes roar, to see leather and chrome’

Parksville author shares journey on famed 800 km trail

Books, movie inspire Roxey Edwards to walk Camino de Santiago, write book

Naked man jumping into Toronto shark tank a ‘premeditated’ stunt: official

The man swam in a tank at Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada

Trump: Saudi king ‘firmly denies’ any role in Khashoggi mystery

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is travelling to the Middle East to learn more about the fate of the Saudi national

Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen dies at 65

Allen died in Seattle from complications of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma

Transport Canada to take new look at rules, research on school bus seatbelts

Canada doesn’t currently require seatbelts on school buses

Sockeye run in Shuswap expected to be close to 2014 numbers

Salute to the Sockeye on Adams River continues until Sunday, Oct. 21 at 4 p.m.

Michelle Mungall’s baby first in B.C. legislature chamber

B.C. energy minister praises support of staff, fellow MLAs

Canucks: Pettersson in concussion protocol, Beagle out with broken forearm

Head coach Travis Green called the hit ‘a dirty play’

5 tips for talking to your kids about cannabis

Health officials recommend sharing a harm reduction-related message.

NHL players say Canada’s legalization of marijuana won’t impact them

NHL players say the legalization of marijuana in Canada won’t change how they go about their business.

Most Read