Pubdate: Tue, 27 Aug 2013
Source: Victoria Times-Colonist (CN BC)
Copyright: 2013 Times Colonist
Author: James Kerr
Page: A11


Re: "Trudeau's marijuana mea culpa sparks up debate in Parliament," Aug. 24.

Recent articles profile Justin Trudeau, who says that his position
regarding cannabis has evolved. I admire his audacity, honesty and

As a mental-health practitioner, I agree it is time for the
conversation to evolve. This issue has been polarized for far too
long. It is time to have a sensible conversation about moderation,
benefits and side-effects, and what responsible usage means.

Current statistics find that 93 per cent of people who use cannabis do
not become addicted. The remaining seven per cent report having
serious negative consequences resulting from their cannabis usage.
However, my experience with clients who use cannabis shows that it is
stigmatization, oppression and criminalization that causes the most
damage. Users are often subjected to judgment and guilt in their
interactions with health-care professionals, law enforcement,
employers and family members.

Trudeau offers no apology and we shall see how political and public
opinion play out. However, it is worthwhile to consider that one in
five people in B.C admit to using cannabis in the past year (the true
number is likely higher). People use cannabis for a variety of
reasons: recreationally, therapeutically and medicinally. Arguably,
cannabis helps a lot more than it hurts.

Let's evolve and opt for acceptance instead of judgment, honesty
instead of shame, and support instead of stigmatization,
criminalization and incarceration.

James Kerr

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