Pubdate: Sat, 15 Jul 2017
Source: Telegram, The (CN NF)
Copyright: 2017 The Telegram
Author: T.E. Bursey
Page: B3


Many Canadians are becoming increasingly concerned with the federal
government's proposed legalization of recreational marijuana.

Rigorous scientific studies are not available on its long-term effects
to users. Quite the opposite, what is available points to an
irreversible neurological degeneration, in particular for young
people. It took more than 400 years of ingesting the tobacco drug into
the human body before the weight of evidence was accepted by the
majority of governments that it was a disaster to human life.

Marijuana has been available by prescription since 2001, nevertheless
a simple breath test the Canadian Medical Association believed it to
be of sufficient importance to publicly express their concerns with
the legislation which permits general, over-the-counter sale of what
could be a dangerous long-term debilitating drug. Surely Prime
Minister Justin Trudeau's revelation that his younger brother Michel,
who at one point was charged with a criminal offence for possession of
a small amount of marijuana and could have received a criminal record
had it not been for the timely intervention of his powerful political
father, offers no assurance that long-term usage of the drug is safe
for human consumption.

There are ways of dealing with the possession of a small amount by
classifying it as a misdemeanor rather than a criminal offence. Unlike
alcohol users operating a motor vehicle on the highway, a simple
mobile breath test can quickly verify impairment, whereas in the case
of marijuana there is no such simple technology available.

Furthermore, there is no intent to harmonize the use of the drug
throughout Canada. Therefore, much of the decision-making regarding
use, policing, charging and sentencing will be left to the provinces.
This will likely prove to be a cumbersome nightmare for provinces,
with very little in the way of return. Some of the American states
have legalized marijuana, but the experiments have been far from

The Trump administration reviewed the situation and stated they have
no plans to legalize it throughout their country. Should it be
legalized in Canada, this will add a further contentious dimension to
our country's desire to maintain hassle-free, open borders with our
American neighbours. More concerned groups and citizens should express
their views to the federal government on the proposed legalization of
this drug before it is too late.

T.E. Bursey

St. Philip's
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