Pubdate: Thu, 14 Dec 2017
Source: Telegram, The (CN NF)
Copyright: 2017 The Telegram
Author: Keihan Power
Page: B3


An argument against the legalization of marijuana

We should not let underground drug lords pressure us into legalizing
something that could be quite harmful for our health.

During his election campaign, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised
to legalize marijuana if we chose him as our leader. That day is near,
and marijuana might be legalized on Canada Day 2018. Such a decision
should not be taken lightly. Our country is not ready for this change.

To clarify, I don't want to come across as cynical. I know that
medical marijuana has its place in treating patients with chronic or
terminal illness. I also don't agree with throwing people in jail for
carrying small amounts for personal use. I see this as a waste of
time, money and resources. At the same time, however, I don't think
that the legalization of marijuana is what our country needs. And I
certainly don't think it will make our country healthier, happier or
safer. The decision to legalize marijuana has implications for health,
society and our youth

Due to a lack of evidence, we don't know about marijuana's long-term
health effects. The legal age of consumption is yet to be determined,
and there is a risk for impaired brain development with early use.
Most notably, there is an increased risk for mental illnesses such as
schizophrenia. Smoking, in general, is simply not healthy, and the
human lungs are not made to tolerate such abuse. Only time will tell
about the long-term effects of marijuana use

In addition, impaired driving is already a major burden on our
country. Marijuana use will certainly add to this. Our people have
suffered enough with drinking and driving, and every year thousands of
Canadians are killed in impairment-related accidents. What will happen
now when marijuana comes into play? We don't know how much is safe to
consume before getting behind the wheel, or even how severe marijuana
impairs our ability to drive.

Lastly, the legalization of marijuana teaches our children that
recreational drug abuse is OK. Many Canadian schools use the Drug
Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) program, in which marijuana is
discussed as a "gateway drug." The fear is that youth will get
adventurous with more dangerous drugs. What will they say to the
children now? To stay away from cocaine and crystal meth, but that
it's OK to smoke marijuana?

Yes, I agree that the government control of marijuana will allow for
safer and more regulated products. This will also compete with the
underground drug market that currently distributes marijuana and other
drugs. By decriminalizing marijuana, police enforcement could shift
focus to more important issues. However, this does not mean marijuana
is safe. We should not let underground drug lords pressure us into
legalizing something that could be quite harmful for our health.

An argument to support legalization is that by legalizing marijuana,
children and youth will have more difficulty accessing it. The idea is
that drug dealers would be run out of business, so children wouldn't
have access to the underground drug market anymore. However, when
marijuana becomes more frequently used by adults and parents, children
will be able to easily access it in their cupboards at home.

Another argument is that taxing marijuana sales could be a means of
generating revenue for our economy. This is true, but we could
consider taxing other items, such as junk food or sugary beverages. We
don't need to depend on marijuana as a source of income.

As Canadians, we value our freedom and independence, which is why we
stand by leaders such as Trudeau. But this can be taken too far,
especially in the case of marijuana. I feel Prime Minister Trudeau
used this notion of individual freedom with marijuana to sway voters
to choose him as our leader. But at what cost to the health of our
country as a whole? Again, we must not forget that there are many
potential risks associated with marijuana use.

We are not ready for the legalization of marijuana. The fact that
something is legal does not mean it is safe. Health and potential
risks should be our priority when making important decisions like
this. If we're not ready, we shouldn't be jumping to conclusions.

Keihan Power

Mount Pearl
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