Pubdate: Sat, 07 Sep 2002
Source: Edmonton Sun (CN AB)
Copyright: 2002, Canoe Limited Partnership.
Author: Scott Haskins, Edmonton Sun


Excuse me a minute. I can't remember what I was talking about. Oh, yeah, I 
haven't started yet.

You might say I've gone to pot, but that would scare the hell out of my mom.

It wouldn't be the first time, either.

I remember the day I came home from high school to find my parents sitting 
at the kitchen table, waiting for me. They obviously had terrible news.

"Scott," my mom said. "You're smoking marijuana."

Hell, I already knew that.

I was 16. This was the '70s. Of course I was smoking marijuana. Everybody 
was smoking marijuana.

But I couldn't tell them that. Deny, deny, deny. I'd never do such a thing. 
This was the evil weed.

"It'll make you go crazy," she said.

Apparently she was right.

Actually, it was mom who made me go goofy. I was home on vacation about 15 
years ago. She was working at the Ontario Provincial Police office and one 
morning she called home to report a major pot bust.

"It's in the storeroom," she said. "There are about 40 plants. They're big 
and bushy. You should see them."

Good idea.

"C'mon, mom," I pleaded. "Just lop off one little bud and bring it home. 
I've never seen it before."

And she did. I almost fell down. It was an absolute monster. "C'mon, mom," 
I cajoled her. "Let's try some. As long as we have potato chips, we'll be OK."

But she would have none of that. And neither would I. Before I could make 
my move, she raced over to the fireplace and tossed it in.

"Not in my house," she said.

Agreed. "Where's the ladder, dad? I have to get up on the roof." Who hasn't 
heard the expression, "He smokes like a chimney?"

I come from the Cheech and Chong era. "Dave's not here, man."

You could smoke about a pound back then and the effects were negligible.

"I think I'm stoned. How about you?"

"Maybe. Salt and vinegar or regular?"

"Yup, you're stoned."

So now the Senate is suggesting pot should be legalized. It won't hurt you. 
It might even be good for what ails ya. See, mom, I was right all along.

I didn't think it was wrong then. Now that I'm all growed up, I still 
don't. It should be legalized.

But it will lead to hard drugs like crack cocaine and heroin, the argument 

Right. The same way beer leads to whisky and, eventually, radiator antifreeze.

Spare me. If nothing else, it has been proven that pot is less harmful than 
alcohol. I'd much rather meet an oncoming driver who had smoked a couple of 
joints than one who was on his second six-pack.

Better a late-night attack on the cookie jar than the dry heaves.

Let's face it, smoking pot is virtually legal now. No decent cop is going 
to bother someone with a joint or two. A trunkful? Now that's another matter.

It's just that they have better things to do. Like finding the creep who 
keeps stealing the stereo out of my car, I hope.

The government would save hundreds of millions of dollars in 
drug-enforcement costs. At the same time, by taxing the legal pot, it would 
make hundreds of millions of dollars.

And the downside?

Far more lives are ruined by cigarettes and booze and gambling, than are 
ruined by marijuana.

People are going to smoke it anyway.

Kids - yes, probably even yours - are going to try it. If they're 17, I'm 
betting they already have. Does that make them bad kids? Of course not.

I'm not advocating smoking marijuana, just like I'm not advocating smoking 

This might shock you, but I'd rather see Ryan with a joint in his mouth 
once in a while than a cigarette in his mouth all the time. And I'd rather 
see him giggling than staggering into walls. I'm not a bad parent, but I am 
a realistic parent.

I find it interesting that the Senate report on pot was worthy of a 
front-page headline and photo, plus the fourth and fifth pages, on Thursday.

A day earlier, another Senate report indicated that Canada's unguarded 
ports and harbours are easy targets for terrorists wanting to smuggle 
nuclear weapons into North America. There was only a single story, on Page 7.

Only one of these things scares the hell out of me.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom