Weeding out the naysers

Editor, Evan Matthews. / LAURA KEIL

by EVAN MATTHEWS, editor

The Canadian Liberal government is set to legalize marijuana on July 1, 2018, ending a 94-year-long prohibition on the plant.

It’s about time, but it’s also time to de-stigmatize its use.

People who literally oppose marijuana, at this point, just need to let it go. There is no need for the attached stigma, at this point.

There are still people who say, “Those stoners doing their weed, they’re going to crash their cars! They’re going to put their drugs in the hands of our youth! Crime, and violent crime, will increase!”

I won’t laugh, but, really? Come on. These arguments are so old and unfounded.

Booze is legal. But people still crash their cars while drunk. Kids still drink underage. I can’t speak to whether (violent) crime increases with booze consumption, but if you talk to the police or even read their reports; I think it’s safe to make a connection between booze and crime.

I would have to assume most marijuana users — the ones I’ve met, anyway — are too paranoid to commit most crimes, but I could be wrong.

Legislation regulates alcohol, and nobody is saying marijuana should be any

different.

And is banning something — meaning that simply possessing it in most circumstances is illegal — the best way to deal with (potential/hypothetical) problems associated?

Society tried the whole “prohibition thing” on alcohol too, and how did that turn out?

From a trafficking perspective — If I’m reading history correctly — a few people made a lot of money bootlegging alcohol, so people could drink it anyway despite it being illegal.

A black market existed then for alcohol, and one exists now for marijuana. People can get at marijuana, without issue.

People seemingly disregard legalities when it comes to mind-altering substances, whatever they are. Mind-altering drugs must be appealing, to some.

With the federal government aiming to legalize the substance in just over a year’s time, I guess my request would be this: let the marijuana debate end, regardless of your beliefs or morals.

There has been so much weed-related propaganda over the years, demonizing it, portraying it as evil, or whatever else. If you still buy in to that mentality, you’re totally entitled to your opinion, and that’s fine. Nobody is forcing you to use it.

I would suggest you read a little bit more on the subject, but I digress.

I’ve been using booze as the comparable example because it’s the substance so many people seem to compare marijuana with, but not because I believe it to be a fair comparison.

People drink alcohol and people smoke pot.

But people also drink coffee, pumping their veins full of caffeine and sugar, altering their minds to become more focused and more alert, not dissimilarly to pre-workout drinks or energy drinks.

People take Oxycontin to numb themselves and cope with extreme amounts of pain.

Others take Warfarin to thin their blood, if their blood pressure or cholesterol is too high.

Some people use marijuana to simply relax; others use it as a painkiller, while others use it as anxiety medication.
If someone smokes a joint over popping a Percocet, is it my right to judge them?

We aren’t talking about hard drugs like ecstasy, cocaine or heroin — heroin being originally manufactured and advertised by pharmaceutical companies — but a plant.

Drugs are a huge part of our society and our economy, whether for health or recreation, it doesn’t matter how you look at it.

But maybe it is worth asking why marijuana is so taboo, and why society’s feeling toward a person’s marijuana use is so different than any other substance.