Pubdate: Sat, 09 Jan 2016
Source: North Bay Nugget (CN ON)
Copyright: 2016 North Bay Nugget
Author: John R. Hunt
Page: 4


Along with millions of law-abiding Canadians, I may have to make an 
agonizing decision this year. The federal Liberals have promised to 
legalize marijuana. If they do, will I try it?

I have avoided the stuff for at least 60 years. I covered courts and 
crime for nearly 30 years and knew many law enforcers. One cannot run 
on both sides of the street at the same time so I came down hard on 
the side of law and order and resisted pot's temptations.

When marijuana first appeared in northeastern Ontario, magistrates 
and judges fulminated, Crown attorneys seethed and the police worked 
over time to protect the public from this new and dangerous evil demon weed.

I wrote hundreds of words attacking pot and now wonder if many of 
them were true. In my wildest dreams, I never imagined that the stuff 
would become legal.

The courts were tough on drug dealers. I once wrote a slightly 
sarcastic story about three of them. The trio accosted me in downtown Cobalt.

Things were beginning to look nasty when a friendly OPP officer 
honked his horn and waved as he went by, and the trio became scared 
and ran away. I met the ring leader some time later, by then he was 
wanted by the RCMP and the OPP. He was coming out of the men's 
washroom in Union Station in Toronto and he recognized me. I told a 
rather wooden railway policeman that a wanted man was in the station, 
but he said he couldn't do anything without a poster.

The Tri-Towns has had its share of drug dealers. They sell all the 
concoctions that damage and kill people. There must also be a small 
and exclusive band of marijuana dealers who satisfy their customers 
and do not pollute their pot with dangerous drugs.

I am constantly amazed at the number of times I have met honest and 
hardworking folk who cheerfully admit they occasionally enjoy a puff 
or two of pot.

Thousands of people have been convicted for possessing pot and 
suffered the consequences. Will they now seek compensation for being 
treated so unjustly in the past?

There has been a recent spike in the number of people dying from 
overdoses of both legal and illegal drugs. The whole drug scene is a 
mess. Would it be different if marijuana had been accepted 60 years ago?

One thing bothers me and I am sure it concerns the people at the 
Liquor Control Board of Ontario who are reportedly eagerly waiting to 
retail pot. Will marijuana replace Scotch? It could be the saddest or 
the highest of times.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom