Pubdate: Fri, 21 Apr 2017
Source: Winnipeg Sun (CN MB)
Copyright: 2017 Canoe Limited Partnership
Author: David Larkins
Page: 3


4/20 participants extol virtues of pot as drug that helps you

Leigh Filbert admits he lived the "rock-star lifestyle" in the past
and acknowledges now his body is paying for it.

Filbert suffered a stroke a little over a year ago that left the right
side of his body paralyzed. He suffers from anxiety he also contends
is paralyzing, emotionally.

Attending his first 4/20 rally, Filbert biked around the Legislature
grounds on Thursday "to gather constructive information" about the
cannabis movement as he continues on his road to recovery.

"I find that, with my problems in the past, I have not just physical
issues, but I've got anxiety issues and health issues," he said. "...
I find for myself, my anxiety level can be calmed and I can get on
with my day and be productive with the use of (marijuana)."

Filbert has been present in the Manitoba music scene for years, a
lifestyle that led him to dip into "all the nightlife and all the madness."

A married father of two, he would eventually have to confront a crack
cocaine addiction. Filbert now lives his life with a "hoot" on
occasion to help him deal with his afflictions.

"What has happened is God has given me a second chance," he said. "He
didn't kill me, he just gave me a slap on the ass."

While the 4/20 crowd is an eclectic bunch any given year, Filbert was
one of many on hand who continue to sing the praises of marijuana's
impact on a variety of health issues.

Sylvie, who runs the PTSD Alliance of Manitoba, said the disorder
impacts her so greatly that she often can't make herself leave the
house. She did not want her last name used in this story.

Formerly an early-years educator, Sylvie said she could function in
her work environment but said even at her best she was merely
performing, putting on a mask for the outside world while living
another existence internally.

"It allowed me to feel because even before that it was like I was
talking like a zombie, or being on stage," she said. "You're
physically there, but mentally you're not there.

"I did great at work and I loved my job, but I had really no actual
feelings. … Marijuana, what it does, is it allows me to actually feel."

In the wake of the federal government announcing plans to legalize
marijuana in Canada, Jeff Shawluk said 4/20 rallies will still hold
importance even after legal weed is available.

"To decriminalize it altogether or to set people like Marc Emery and
all those people free that they wrongfully arrested," he said. "If you
really want to get it out of criminal's hands and organizations, then
you have to let everybody grow their own. The gangs will always be
able to undercut you if you legalize it."
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