Pubdate: Sun, 22 May 2016
Source: Toronto Star (CN ON)
Copyright: 2016 The Toronto Star
Author: Colin Whitworth
Page: A10


Re The case for legalizing cannabis, Opinion May 17

I agree that marijuana dispensaries need regulation. All businesses
do, for a variety of reasons. However, the panic about dispensaries is

City councillor Joe Cressy says that marijuana can cause "serious
respiratory impacts," "can affect memory" and "is associated with
increased risk of impairment to cognitive functioning." Whether you
agree with his assessment (I think it's a vast exaggeration), what is
important is that these are risks that marijuana smokers should be
allowed to take.

Canadians are allowed to drink booze and smoke cigarettes - both legal
substances that are far more harmful than anything you can imagine
about pot. There are bars on every street, and you can even buy beer
in some grocery stores. Cigarettes are widely available for purchase,
despite the many deaths directly attributed to smoking them. The
reason no one ever offers statistics about marijuana overdoes and
deaths is because it almost never happens.

There's no need to treat marijuana differently than we treat tobacco
and alcohol. Regulate dispensaries, please, but don't let the word
"regulate" become "ban." That would be a knee-jerk reaction when an
embrace is more appropriate.

Dispensaries are serving a need and a demand. The times are changing.
We must keep up.

Colin Whitworth, Toronto
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