Why it’s time to legalize marijuana

After decades of wasted resources, clogged courtrooms and a shift in public perception, let’s end the war on weed

by Ken MacQueen

Andrew Hetherington/Redux

Sometime this year, if it hasn’t happened already, the millionth Canadian will be arrested for marijuana possession, Dana Larsen estimates. The indefatigable B.C.-based activist for pot legalization is thinking of marking the occasion with a special ceremony. True, it will be impossible to know exactly who the millionth person is, but with the Conservative government’s amped-up war on drugs, it won’t be hard to find a nominee. As Larsen notes, the war on drugs in Canada is mostly a war on marijuana, “and most of that is a war on marijuana users.”

The numbers bear him out. Since the Tories came to power in 2006, and slammed the door on the previous Liberal government’s muddled plans to reduce or decriminalize marijuana penalties, arrests for pot possession have jumped 41 per cent. In those six years, police reported more than 405,000 marijuana-related arrests, roughly equivalent to the populations of Regina and Saskatoon combined.

In the statistic-driven world of policing, pot users are the low-hanging fruit, says Larsen, director of Sensible BC, a non-profit group organizing to put marijuana decriminalization on a provincial referendum ballot in 2014. “We’re seeing crime drop across Canada. [Police] feel they’ve got nothing better to do. You can throw a rock and find a marijuana user,” he says over coffee in his Burnaby home. “It’s very easy to do.”


But is it the right thing to do? Most certainly that’s the view of the federal government, which has been unshakable in its belief that pot users are criminals, and that such criminals need arresting if Canada is to be a safer place. The message hasn’t changed though Canada’s crime rate has plummeted to its lowest level in 40 years. “It depends on which type of crime you’re talking about,” Justice Minister Rob Nicholson said in an interview with the Globe and Mail, a typical defence of the Conservative’s omnibus crime bill, which includes new mandatory minimum sentences for some drug crimes. “Among other things, child sexual offences, those crimes are going up. Drug crimes are going up, and so, again, much of what the Safe Streets and Communities Act was focused on was child sexual offences and drug crimes.”

The minister is correct if one takes a cursory look at the statistics. Two of the largest one-year increases in police-reported crimes in 2011 were a 40 per cent jump in child pornography cases (3,100 incidents), and a seven per cent hike (to 61,406 arrests) for pot possession. Taken together, all marijuana offences—possession, growing and trafficking—accounted for a record 78,000 arrests in 2011, or 69 per cent of all drug offences. Simple pot possession represented 54 per cent of every drug crime that police managed to uncover. This is more phony war than calamity, waged by a government determined to save us from a cannabis crisis of its own making. To have the minister imply a moral equivalency between child sexual abuse and carrying a couple of joints in your jeans underscores the emotionalism clouding the issue: reason enough to look at why marijuana is illegal in the first place.

The Conservative hard line is increasingly out of step with its citizenry, and with the shifting mood in the United States, where two states—Colorado and Washington—have already legalized recreational use, where others have reduced penalties to a misdemeanour ticket and where many, like California, have such lax rules on medical marijuana that one is reminded of the “medicinal alcohol” that drugstores peddled with a wink during a previous failed experiment with prohibition.

In late May, the Canadian Drug Policy Coalition added its voice to the debate with a sweeping report, “Getting to Tomorrow,” calling for the decriminalization of all currently illegal drugs, the regulation and taxation of cannabis and the expansion of treatment and harm-reduction programs. The coalition of drug policy experts, affiliated with the Centre for Applied Research in Mental Health and Addiction at Simon Fraser University, calls the increasing emphasis on drug criminalization under the Conservatives an “overwhelming failure.” The high marijuana use by Canadian minors is just one unintended consequence of current drug laws, it concludes. “Prohibition abdicated responsibility for regulating drug markets to organized crime and abandons public health measures like age restrictions and dosing controls.”

There’s growing consensus, at least outside the Conservative cabinet room, that it’s time to take a hard look at tossing out a marijuana prohibition that dates back to 1923—a Canadian law that has succeeded in criminalizing successive generations, clogging the courts, wasting taxpayer resources and enriching gangsters, while failing to dampen demand for a plant that, by objective measures, is far more benign than alcohol or tobacco.

Why is marijuana illegal?

Well, Maclean’s must take a measure of responsibility. Back in the 1920s one of its high-profile correspondents was Emily Murphy, the Alberta magistrate, suffragette and virulent anti-drug crusader, who frequently wrote under the pen name Janey Canuck. She wrote a lurid series of articles for the magazine that were later compiled and expanded in her 1922 book, The Black Candle — you’ll find an excerpt from this book at the end of this piece. She raged against “Negro” drug dealers and Chinese opium peddlers “of fishy blood” out to control and debase the white race.

Much of her wrath was directed at narcotics and the plight of the addict, but she also waged a hyperbolic attack against the evils of smoking marijuana—then little-known and little-used recreationally, although the hemp plant had been a medicinal staple in teas and tinctures. Quoting uncritically the view of the Los Angeles police chief of the day, she reported: “Persons using this narcotic smoke the dried leaves of the plant, which has the effect of driving them completely insane. The addict loses all sense of moral responsibility. Addicts to this drug, while under its influence, are immune to pain, and could be severely injured without having any realization of their condition. While in this condition they become raving maniacs and are liable to kill or indulge in any form of violence to other persons using the most savage methods of cruelty without, as said before, any sense of moral responsibility.”

In 1923, a year after The Black Candle’s release, Canada became one of the first countries in the world to outlaw cannabis, giving it the same status as opium and other narcotics. It’s impossible to know what influence Murphy’s writing had on the decision because there was no public or parliamentary debate. As noted by a 2002 Canadian Senate committee report, “Cannabis: Our Position for a Canadian Public Policy”: “Early drug legislation was largely based on a moral panic, racist sentiment and a notorious absence of debate.”

The Senate report, like the royal commission on the nonmedical use of drugs chaired by Gerald LeDain in the early 1970s, concluded that the criminalization of cannabis had no scientific basis, but its use by adolescents should be discouraged. The LeDain reports, between 1970-73, were ahead of their time—to their detriment. Commissioners generated reams of studies on all drug use and held cross-country hearings (even recording John Lennon’s pro-pot views during an in-camera session in Montreal). LeDain recommended the repeal of cannabis prohibition, stating “the costs to a significant number of individuals, the majority of whom are young people, and to society generally, of a policy of prohibition of simple possession are not justified by the potential for harm.” Even in a counterculture era of love beads and Trudeaumania the recommendations went nowhere.

Obscurity also befell the 2002 Senate report 30 years later. The senators recommended legalization, as well as amnesty for past convictions, adding: “We are able to categorically state that, used in moderation, cannabis in itself poses very little danger to users and to society as a whole, but specific types of use represent risks to users,” especially the “tiny minority” of adolescents who are heavy users. Generally, though, the greater harm was not in cannabis use, the senators said, but in the after-effects of the criminal penalties.

Both reports vanished in a puff of smoke, while 90 years on Emily Murphy endures. She is celebrated in a statue on Parliament Hill for her leading role among the Famous Five, who fought in the courts and were ultimately successful in having women recognized as “persons” under the law. And she endures in the spirit of Canada’s marijuana laws, which continue to reflect some of her hysterical views. Blame political cowardice, the fear of being labelled “soft on crime.” As a correspondent to the British medical journal The Lancet said of the slow pace of change for drug prohibition internationally: “bad policy is still good politics.”

Putting emotions, fears and rhetoric aside, the case for legalizing personal use of cannabis hangs on addressing two key questions. What is the cost and social impact of marijuana prohibition? And what are the risks to public health, to social order and personal safety of unleashing on Canada a vice that has been prohibited for some 90 years?

The cost of prohibition

Estimates vary wildly on the cost impact of marijuana use and of enforcement. Back in 2002 the Senate report pegged the annual cost of cannabis to law enforcement and the justice system at $300 million to $500 million. The costs of enforcing criminalization, the report concluded, “are disproportionately high given the drug’s social and health consequences.”

Neil Boyd, a criminology professor at Simon Fraser University, concludes in a new study financed by Sensible BC that the annual police- and court-related costs of enforcing marijuana possession in B.C. alone is “reasonably and conservatively” estimated at $10.5 million per year. B.C. has the highest police-reported rate of cannabis offences of any province, and rising: 19,400 in 2011. Of those, almost 16,600 were for possession, leading to almost 3,800 charges, double the number in 2005. As arrests increase, Boyd estimates costs will hit $18.8 million within five years. Added to that will be the cost of jailing people under new mandatory minimum sentences included in the Safe Streets and Communities Act.

The Conservatives’ National Anti-Drug Strategy, implemented in 2007, shifted drug strategy from Health Canada to the Justice Department. Most of the $528 million budgeted for the strategy between 2012 and 2017 goes to enforcement, rather than treatment, public education or health promotion, the drug policy coalition report notes. “Activities such as RCMP drug enforcement, drug interdiction and the use of the military in international drug control efforts [further] drive up policing, military and security budgets,” it says.

Canada has always taken a softer line on prosecuting drug offences than the U.S., which has recorded 45 million arrests since president Richard Nixon declared a war on drugs in 1971. More than half of those in U.S. federal prison are there for drug offences. The Canadian drug incarceration rate is nowhere near as high. But the government’s omnibus crime bill includes a suite of harder penalties. It requires a six-month minimum sentence for those growing as few as six cannabis plants, with escalating minimums. It also doubled the maximum penalty to 14 years for trafficking pot. (In Colorado, by contrast, it’s now legal for an adult to grow six plants for personal use or to possess up to an ounce of marijuana.)

At the heart of the crime bill, in the government’s view, is public safety through criminal apprehension. The party won successive elections with that as a key election plank, and the senior ministers for crime and justice see it as an inalterable mandate. Nicholson rose in the Commons this March saying the government makes “no apology” for its tough-on-crime agenda, including its war on pot. “Since we’ve come to office, we’ve introduced 30 pieces of legislation aimed at keeping our streets and communities safe,” he said. Public Safety Minister Vic Toews, in response to the pot legalization votes in Colorado and Washington, has flatly stated: “We will not be decriminalizing or legalizing marijuana.” Back in 2010, Toews made it clear that public safety trumps concerns about increasing costs at a time of falling crime rates. “Let’s not talk about statistics,” he told a Senate committee studying the omnibus crime bill. “Let’s talk about danger,” he said. “I want people to be safe.”

But there are risks in prohibition, too. The most obvious are the gang hits and gun battles that indeed impact the safety of Canadian streets, much of it fuelled by turf battles over the illegal drug trade. Nor are criminal dealers prone to worry about contaminants in the product from dubious grow ops, or the age of their customers.

Canadian children and youth, in fact, are the heaviest users of cannabis in the developed world, according to a report released in April by UNICEF. The agency, using a World Health Organization (WHO) survey of 15,000 Canadians, found 28 per cent of Canadian children (aged 11, 13, and 15) tried marijuana in the past 12 months, the highest rate among 29 nations. Fewer than 10 per cent admitted to being frequent users. A Health Canada survey puts the average first use of pot at 15.7 years, and estimates the number of “youth” (ages 15-24) who have tried pot at a lower 22 per cent—the same rate as a survey of Ontario high school student use by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health.

UNICEF called child marijuana use a “significant concern” for reasons including possible impacts on physical and mental health as well as school performance. Canadian youth, it speculated, believe occasional pot use is of little risk to their health, and “less risky than regular smoking of cigarettes.” UNICEF warned, however, of significant punitive risks to pot use, including expulsion from school and arrest. It noted 4,700 Canadians between ages 12 to 17 were charged with a cannabis offence in 2006. “Legal sanctions against young people generally lead to even worse outcomes,” the report said, “not improvements in their lives.”

Nor do Canada’s sanctions curb underage use. Germany, Portugal, Belgium, Italy and the Netherlands are all countries where pot use has been decriminalized, legalized or liberalized, and all have rates of child cannabis use that range from one-third to more than one-half lower than in Canada. Why Canada’s rates are higher is a bit of a mystery. Part of it is the ready availability from dealers with no scruples about targeting youth, and the cachet of forbidden fruit—or rather, buds. Then there’s the storm of mixed messages we send young people. There’s the laissez-faire attitude of many parents who used pot themselves. Then days like the annual 4/20 celebrations every April 20, when police turn a blind eye to open pot use and sale, cloud the issue of legality. Even the federal government vilifies cannabis on one hand, while its health ministry offers a qualified endorsement of its use as a medicine.

Mason Tvert, a key strategist in Colorado’s successful legalization vote, says criminalization has created an unregulated underground market of dealers who have no compunction about selling pot to minors. “Whether you want marijuana to be legal or not is irrelevant. Clearly there is a need for something to change if our goal is to keep marijuana from young people,” he says in an interview with Maclean’s during a foray into the Lower Mainland to campaign on behalf of Sensible BC’s referendum plan.

If you want to see the value of regulating a legal product, combined with proof-of-age requirements and public education campaigns, look to the falling rates of cigarette smoking among young people in both the U.S. and Canada, Tvert says. “We didn’t have to arrest a single adult for smoking a cigarette in order to reduce teen smoking. So why arrest adults to prevent teens from using marijuana?”

UNICEF also recommended that child pot use can be reduced more effectively with the same kind of public information campaigns and other aggressive measures used to curtail tobacco use. Canadian children, it noted, have the third-lowest rate of tobacco smokers among 29 nations. Remarkably, whether you use the 28 or 22 per cent estimate, more Canadian children have at least tried pot than the number who who smoke or drink heavily. The WHO data found just four per cent of Canadian children smoke cigarettes at least once a week, and 16 per cent said they had been drunk more than twice. It’s noteworthy, too, that tobacco, alcohol and cannabis use by Canadian children have all declined significantly since the last WHO survey in 2002. Perhaps we underestimate the common sense of our young people—sometimes at their peril.

There are ample reasons to discourage children from the use of intoxicants at a time of formative social, physical and emotional development. It’s noteworthy, though, that Canada’s teens have at least chosen a safer vice in pot—apart from its illegality—than either alcohol or tobacco. As Tvert claims, backed by ample scientific data, pot is not physically addictive (though people can become psychologically dependent) and it is less toxic than either tobacco or alcohol.

An unfair law, unevenly applied

It was a bleak, wet night in March when 100 people gathered in a lecture hall at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby to hear an unlikely cast of speakers make the case for marijuana legalization, an event sponsored by Sensible BC. Among the speakers was Derek Corrigan, the city mayor, who cut his teeth as a defence lawyer. “Over the course of my career I gained an understanding of the nature of the people who were using [cannabis] and realized this was a vast cross-section of our society,” he said. They were everyday people, not criminals, he said. Most smoke with impunity in their homes and social circles, but it was young people, without that insulation of social respectability, whom he most often defended. “In criminal law we used to call it the ‘I-didn’t-respect-the-officer-enough’ offence. If you apologized enough you were unlikely to be charged,” he said. “I found that to be reprehensible.”

Among the other speakers was lawyer Randie Long, who used to have a lucrative sideline as an hourly-paid federal prosecutor dealing with marijuana charges. There is a corrupting influence to the war on drugs that hits far closer to home than the cartels, the gangs and the dealers, he said. It corrupts the police and the justice system itself. “There’s easy money available from the feds for law enforcement”—all they need are the arrests to justify it. “The prosecutors use stats. The cops use stats,” he said. “Better stats mean better money.”

It’s understandable that many believe marijuana possession is quasi-legal. In Vancouver, it all but is. It is the stated policy of Vancouver police to place a low priority on enforcing cannabis possession charges. But outside Vancouver, most B.C. municipalities are patrolled by local detachments of the federal RCMP—and there, the hunt is on. Boyd, the criminologist, has taken a hard look at the numbers. In 2010, for instance, there were only six charges recommended by Vancouver police where marijuana possession was the only offence. There is a “striking difference” in enforcement in areas patrolled by the RCMP, Boyd notes in his report. The rate of all pot possession charges laid by Vancouver police in 2010 was 30 per 100,000. In RCMP territory, it ranged from 79 per 100,000 in Richmond and 90 per 100,000 in North Vancouver to almost 300 per 100,000 in Nelson and 588 per 100,000 in Tofino.

RCMP Supt. Brian Cantera, head of drug enforcement in the province, explained the jump in pot possession charges in B.C. as “better work by policing the problem.” He wrote in an email to Boyd: “Despite the views of some, most Canadians do not want this drug around, as they recognize the dangers of it. The public does not want another substance to add to the carnage on highways and other community problems. Policing is reflective of what the public does not want.”

Yet many polls suggest what the public does not want is a prohibition on marijuana. Last year 68 per cent of Canadians told pollster Angus Reid that the war on drugs is a “failure.” Nationally, 57 per cent said they favour legalizing pot. In B.C., 75 per cent supported moving toward regulation and taxation of pot. The number of B.C. respondents who said possessing a marijuana cigarette should lead to a criminal record: 14 per cent.

Despite the zeal for enforcement, most pot arrests in Canada never result in convictions. In 2010, just 7,500 of possession charges for all types of drugs resulted in guilty verdicts—about 10 per cent of all 74,000 possession offences. Most possession busts never make it to trial. Of those reaching court, more than half of the charges are stayed, withdrawn or result in acquittals. This dismal batting average begs two questions. Is this a wise use of police resources and court time? And what criteria selected the unlucky 10 per cent with a guilty verdict? Aside from the probability it is predominantly young males, there are no national breakdowns by income or race. All told, pot prohibition is “ineffective and costly,” the 2002 Senate report concluded. “Users are marginalized and exposed to discrimination by police and the criminal justice system; society sees the power and wealth of organized crime enhanced as criminals benefit from prohibition; and governments see their ability to prevent at-risk use diminished.”

The human cost of prohibition

Victoria resident Myles Wilkinson was thrilled to win an all-expenses-paid trip to the Super Bowl in New Orleans this February. But when he presented himself to U.S. Customs agents at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport, he was refused entry to the U.S. because of a marijuana possession conviction—from 1981. “I had two grams of cannabis. I paid a $50 fine,” he told CBC news. He was 19. “I can’t believe that this is happening, for something that happened 32 years ago.” But it can and it does, and the fact that Wilkinson’s Super Bowl contest was sponsored by a brewery adds a painful ironic twist. Wilkinson’s predicament is sadly typical. Canadians in their late teens to mid-20s are by far the most likely to be accused of drug offences, StatsCan reports. They are also the least likely to be able to afford the several thousand dollar defence lawyers typically bill to fight a case that goes to trial.

As for the scale of pot use in Canada, look to the person on your left and the person on your right. If neither of them have violated the law by smoking pot then it must be you, and probably one of the others, too. About 40 per cent of Canadians 15 and older admitted in a 2011 Health Canada survey to have smoked pot in their lifetime. Based on the number of Canadians 15 and older, that’s 10.4 million people. Just nine per cent of survey respondents said they smoked pot in the last year, compared to 14 per cent in 2004. Male past-year cannabis users outnumber females by two to one, and young people 15 to 24 are more than three times more likely to have smoked pot in the past year compared to those 25 and older.

The same phone survey of 10,000 Canadians found that the alcohol consumption of one-quarter of Canadians puts them at risk of such chronic or acute conditions as liver disease, cancers, injuries and overdoses. If there is a crisis, it’s in that legal drug: alcohol.

Legalization and the risk to public safety

Canadians now have the luxury of looking to the social incubators of Washington state and Colorado to assess the potential risks of adding pot to the menu of legalized vices. Critics have already predicted the outcome: a massive increase in pot use, carnage on the highways, a lost generation of underperforming stoners coughing up their cancerous lungs, Hells Angels becoming the Seagram’s of weed.

As commentator David Frum described it in a column this spring on the Daily Beast website: “A world of weaker families, absent parents, and shrivelling job opportunities is a world in which more Americans will seek a cheap and easy escape from their depressing reality. Legalized marijuana, like legalized tobacco, will become a diversion for those who feel they have the least to lose.”

These are all legitimate, if often exaggerated, fears that must be addressed.

Will pot use increase? There’s little evidence internationally to suggest a surge in use, at least any more than it has as an easily obtainable illegal substance. The 2002 Senate report concluded: “We have not legalized cannabis and we have one of the highest rates [of use] in the world. Countries adopting a more liberal policy have, for the most part, rates of usage lower than ours, which stabilized after a short period of growth.”

The Netherlands, where marijuana is available in hundreds of adult-only coffee shops, is a case in point. The 2012 United Nations World Drug Report, using its own sources, pegs the level of use there at just 7.7 per cent of those aged 15 to 64. The U.S. has the seventh-highest rate of pot smokers, 14.1 per cent, while Canada ranks eighth at 12.7 per cent. Spain and Italy, which have decriminalized possession for all psychoactive drugs, are interesting contrasts. Cannabis use in Italy is 14.6 per cent, while Spain, at 10.6 per cent, is lower than the U.S. or Canada.

Is cannabis a gateway to harder drugs? Again the 2002 Senate report concluded after extensive study: “Thirty years’ experience in the Netherlands disproves this clearly, as do the liberal policies in Spain, Italy and Portugal,” the report said. “And here in Canada, despite the growing increase in cannabis users [at the time of the report], we have not had a proportionate increase in users of hard drugs.” In fact, use of cocaine, speed, hallucinogens and ecstasy are all at lower rates than in 2004, the Health Canada survey reported in 2011.

The risks of drugged driving: This is undeniably an area of concern, but one we’ve lived with for decades. Canadian law since 2008 allows police to conduct mandatory roadside assessments if drivers are suspected of drug impairment. There isn’t yet a roadside breath or blood test for drugs, but police can require a blood test under medical supervision. There were 1,900 drugged driving incidents in 2011—two per cent of all impaired driving offences in Canada.

Washington state has a standard of five nanograms per millilitre of blood of marijuana’s psychoactive chemical, THC, but there is not always a correlation between those levels and impairment. “We aren’t going to arrest somebody unless there’s impairment,” Lt. Rob Sharpe, of Washington’s State Patrol Impaired Driving Section, told the Seattle Times.

So far there has been not a spike in Washington in “green DUIs,” as they’re called. One reason for this may be that many studies have shown that people react recklessly under influence of alcohol, and cautiously when stoned. One admittedly small study at Israel’s Ben Gurion University found alcohol and THC were “equally detrimental” to driving abilities. “After THC administration, subjects drove significantly slower than in the control condition,” the study found, “while after alcohol ingestion, subjects drove significantly faster.” A World Health Organization paper on the health effects of cannabis use says an impaired driver’s risk-taking is one of the greatest dangers, “which the available evidence suggests is reduced by cannabis intoxication, by contrast with alcohol intoxication, which consistently increases risk-taking.” Most certainly criminal sanctions for any form of impaired driving are necessary, as are education campaigns.

What is the health impact of pot? Expect further studies in the states where legalization has unfettered researchers. In Canada, Gerald Thomas, an analyst with the Centre for Addictions Research of B.C., and Chris Davis, an analyst with the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse, used Health Canada data to chart the health and social costs of cannabis, tobacco and alcohol. Their findings: tobacco-related health costs are over $800 per user; alcohol-related health costs were $165 per user; cannabis-related health costs were $20 per user. Enforcement costs added $153 per drinker and $328 for cannabis user. In other words, 94 per cent of the cost to society of cannabis comes from keeping it illegal.

Studies on inhaling pot smoke have yielded some surprising results. A 2006 U.S. study, the largest of its kind, found regular and even heavy marijuana use doesn’t cause lung cancer. The findings among users who had smoked as many as 22,000 joints over their lives, “were against our expectations” that there’d be a link to cancer, Donald Tashkin of the University of California at Los Angeles told the Washington Post. “What we found instead was no association at all, and even a suggestion of some protective effect.”

Another study compared lung function over 20 years between tobacco and marijuana smokers. Tobacco smokers lost lung function but pot use had the opposite effect, marginally increasing capacity, said the study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Cannabinoids in marijuana smoke “have been recognized to have potential antitumour properties,” noted a 2009 study by researchers at Brown University. A study looking at marijuana use and head and neck squamous-cell cancer found an increased risk for smokers and drinkers, while “moderate marijuana use is associated with reduced risk.” Certainly it is past time for serious and impartial study of the benefits and risks of medicinal marijuana, something that decriminalization would facilitate.

Pot as the lesser of two evils: Let’s dispense once and for all with the stereotype of the unmotivated stoner. There are also unmotivated drunks, cigarette smokers and milk drinkers. Studies have ruled out “the existence of the so-called amotivational syndrome,” the Senate report noted a decade ago. Generations of pot smokers from the Boomers onward have somehow held it together, building families and careers. Miraculously, the last three U.S. presidents managed to lift themselves beyond their admitted marijuana use to seek the highest office in the land. Once there, they forgot whence they came, and continued the war on drugs.

Consider, too, the opinion of retired Seattle police chief Norm Stamper, one of many who convinced a solid majority of voters in Washington state last November to endorse legalization. “I strongly believe—and most people agree—that our laws should punish people who do harm to others,” he writes in the foreword to the 2009 bestseller Marijuana is Safer: So Why Are We Driving People to Drink? “But by banning the use of marijuana and punishing individuals who merely possess the substance, it is difficult to see what harm we are trying to prevent. It bears repeating: from my own work and the experiences of other members of the law enforcement community, it is abundantly clear that marijuana is rarely, if ever, the cause of harmfully disruptive or violent behaviour. In fact, I would go so far as to say that marijuana use often helps to tamp down tensions where they otherwise might exist.”

As for pot’s health impact, Stamper concurs with the thesis of the book: study after study finds pot far less toxic and addictive than booze. “By prohibiting marijuana we are steering people toward a substance that far too many people already abuse, namely alcohol. Can marijuana be abused? Of course,” he says. But “it is a much safer product for social and recreational use than alcohol.”

Mason Tvert, a co-author of the Marijuana is Safer book, notes multiple studies show it is impossible to consume enough weed to overdose, yet as a teen he had to be rushed unconscious by ambulance to hospital to have his stomach pumped after drinking a near-lethal amount of alcohol. “We know alcohol kills brain cells without a doubt,” he says. “That’s what a hangover is, it’s like the funeral procession for your brain cells.”

Tvert, very much a showman in the early days of the legalization campaign in Colorado, hammered relentlessly on the “benign” nature of pot, compared to alcohol. His organization sponsored a billboard featuring a bikini-clad beauty, mimicking the usual approach to peddling beer. In this case, though, the message was: “Marijuana: No hangovers. No violence. No carbs!”

Tvert went so far as to call anti-legalization opponent John Hickenlooper, then mayor of Denver, “a drug dealer” because he ran a successful brew pub. Now, Tvert notes with sweet irony, Hickenlooper is governor, tasked with implementing the regime for legalized weed.

The rewards of legalization

Stop the Violence B.C.—a coalition of public health officials, academics, current and former politicians—is trying to take the emotion out of the legalization debate by building science-based counter-arguments to enforcement. One of its member studies concludes B.C. would reap $500 million a year in taxation and licensing revenues from a liquor-control-board style of government regulation and sale.

While some see those numbers as unduly optimistic, both Washington and Colorado are looking at lower enforcement costs and a revenue bonanza from taxation and regulation. An impact analysis for Colorado, with a population slightly larger than British Columbia, predicts a $12-million saving in enforcement costs in the first year, rising to $40 million “as courts and prisons adapt to fewer and fewer violators.” It predicts combined savings and new revenue of $60 million, “with a potential for this number to double after 2017.”

In the U.S., so far, the Obama administration has shown no inclination to use federal drug laws to trump the state initiatives. Dana Larsen is banking on a similar response from Ottawa, should Sensible BC manage to get quasi-legalization passed in a September 2014 referendum. The bar is set high. They need to gather, over a 90-day span this fall, signatures from 10 per cent of the registered voters in every one of B.C.’s 85 electoral districts to force a referendum—just as voters rallied to kill the Harmonized Sales Tax, against the wishes of the federal government. The vote, should it go ahead, would seek to amend the Police Act, instructing departments not to enforce cannabis possession. It would be the first step, says Larsen, to a national repeal of prohibition.

Would the federal government go to war with a province to protect a 90-year-old law built on myths, fears and hysteria; a law that crushed the ambitions of countless thousands of young people; a law that millions violate when it suits their purpose? Likely, but it would be one hell of a fight. After the legalization vote was decided in Washington last November, the Seattle Police Department posted a humourous online guide to pot use, entitled Marijwhatnow? Yes, it said, those over 21 can carry an ounce of pot. No, you can’t smoke it in public. Will Seattle police help federal investigations of marijuana use in the state? Not a chance. There was, between the lines, a palpable relief that they no longer had to play bad cops to a bad law. Marijwhatnow? ended with a clip from Lord of the Rings. Gandalf and Bilbo are smoking a pipe. “Gandalf, my friend,” says Bilbo, “this will be a night to remember.”

Perhaps one day Canadians will be as lucky.

The Black Candle




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Why it’s time to legalize marijuana

  1. Another genius decision by our ever popular leader Harper…..keep throwing 100′s of millions of dollars at a drug that when compared to alcohol looks like a choirboy!

    • Wait, wait – we spent days and days complaining about FORD doing crack.

      Yet here we now want to smoke dope!

      Well, all I can say is that someone is truly on drugs to be pushing this.

      • You dummy, crack and cannabis don’t even belong in the same sentence. Crack is a horribly addictive drug that destroys lives. Cannabis has never directly killed anyone in thousands of years of use, and is less addictive than coffee. Do some research.

        • Yeah do some research on the subject Capt. Jimmy. Cannabis not addictive? Apparently you don’t know too many people who have to toke up every day or else they just can’t function, and I’m not talking about medical marijuana. Apparently you decided not to factor in the dark side of grow-ops, the people killed in drug raids by other dealers. Apparently you don’t know the history of hashish which is a byproduct of the cannabis plant. Apparently you’re just spouting off about something that you don’t have a clue about. Well that’s par for the course.

          • I copied this off Wikipedia. took me 10 seconds to find. I’ve done a lot of research. Show me your scientific proof.

            Research has shown the overall addiction potential for cannabis to be less than for caffeine,[18] tobacco, alcohol, cocaine or heroin, but slightly higher than that for psilocybin, mescaline, LSD

            The negatives that you speak of are due to the ludicrous policy of prohibition brought on by the war on drugs. Not the plant itself.

            Where are you getting your info from? Science, or the DEA and Big Pharma companies whose bread and butter depends on marijuana remaining illegal.

            I dare you to look up how cannabis prohibition began in the first place. It started with and continued with racism, greed and lies. So keep supporting putting giving innocent, non-violent people criminal records, or even jail time for using a god given plant.

            http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/775684

            Above is some research for you on how cannabis prohibition began. Or if you don’t trust my source do your own research. There’s only about a million articles out there on this.

            I dare you to watch the documentary “The Union – The Business Behind Getting High” on YouTube. This doc on the truths about cannabis has been shown to members of Canadian Parliament.

            Unless of course you’d rather just be a sheep the rest of your life?

            Baaaaah!

          • Oh boy another genius who’s done a search on Wikipedia! Oh wait, he also did a search on Huffington Post. More in depth reporting from someone with the name of Captain Jimmy. LOL

          • Where are your sources genius? Here’s another one on how this so called horrible hash oil has anti-cancer properties.

            As Anecdotal Reports of Anti-Cancer Effects from Cannabis ‘Oil’ Pile Up, Doctors Stress Need to Document Its Effects
            http://www.alternet.org/drugs/anecdotal-reports-anti-cancer-effects-cannabis-oil-pile-doctors-stress-need-document-its

            Still waiting for you to convince us all how the plant cannabis itself destroys lives without prohibition. Wasn’t that one of your main original arguments? Back it up!

            “Marijuana, in it’s natural form, is one of the safest, most therapeutic substances known to man”.

            Francis Young – DEA Judge

          • You could have also suggested that people google “2002 Canadian Senate Report”, which recommended that anyone over 16 should have access. (Paraphrased.)

            Personally, I think we should REPEAL cannabis prohibition in Canada entirely, and use the currently annually wasted 2+ BILLION to fund medical research, and subsidize the NATURAL farming industry.

            As to the “age limits question”, I think that it should be restricted to “responsible adults” for normal retail sales, but should not be restricted in any way if there is a demonstrated medical need for access to the plant. That keeps it out of the hands of those society deems “too young for access”, while allowing doctors to finally learn abut cannabis, and prescribe it where needed, without government or police persecution which they’re all so afraid of under the current government scheme…and the next one.

            Repeal prohibition, and ALL of the problems of prohibition go with it. Don’t, and they won’t.

            Fairly simple solution, actually. It’s just too easy for our government to do the wrong thing, since we keep allowing them to do what we know is wrong uncontested, without any consequences except that we pay them more when they do what we know doesn’t work.

          • Listen to yourself…. are you nuts?? What you are saying just makes WAY too much sense! Can’t we somehow keep some of prohibition going so private prisons can keep employing people, the DEA, and 50 other agencies feeding off the prohibition trough can keep employing people, Pharmaseutical companies can at least keep most of their profits, and we the tax payers can fund it… instead of spending the money on things like poverty, education, and research on preventative medicine?

            “The prestige of government has undoubtedly been lowered considerably by the prohibition law. For nothing is more destructive of respect for the government and the law of the land than passing laws which cannot be enforced. It is an open secret that the dangerous increase of crime in this country is closely connected with this.”

            - Albert Einstein

          • Actually, I think I figured out the next prohibition that can keep law enforcement working. How about fear mongering prohibitionists?

          • You summed it up.

          • I guess you did not bother to fully read and comprehend the Macleans article you are commenting on. Thank you for screwing up the lives of your fellow citizens with cruel drug laws. And thank you for wasting my tax money so you can feel superior to others unjustifiably – like a parasite.

          • ZING!!!!

          • HEAR, HEAR!

          • Marijuana doesnt even harm your health only th bi products from the smoking prcess, when vaporized it actually benifits health in many ways…prevents cancer, supports immune system, and many more to many to list. I doesnt matter if its legal or not all the intellegent people who want to use it are gonna use it (all you tokers are awsome) the only change will be if its legal it will prevent countless innocent people from being arrested every year that have lots to contribute to our society. All you fucking politicians and school board assholes who say marijuana is bad and all that bullshit need to stop wasting your time and talk to kids about real drugs like meth, coke, heroin shit that actually gets you addiccted and takes lives.

          • You really don’t know your stuff!! Your crap may have worked way back when global consciousness was low. Today, too many informers and not enough ignorance will only prove you are more ignorant of actual facts.

          • Yeah Genius!! Where are your sources??

          • You fail: also see the LeDain report from way back in 1973.

          • I love pot haters. They never stop sticking their foot in their mouths. Dude, If I was in your face, I’d make sure a boot would go up your ass too to go along with your foot-in-mouth disease. He’s nothing but big mouth loser that cant get his choir to help him,. He should just STFU.

          • metropika, you’ve lost all credibility when you begin to attack someones source rather than defending your argument.

          • If you want to valid information on Cannabis studies, check out The Lancet. They’re one of the most respected medical journals in the world.

            http://www.thelancet.com

          • Thnx

          • I will bet Captain Jim that you are a habitual smoker, am I right? How do you function all day when your brain is in this fog? I have seen people who cannot even get out of bed in the morning without toking and you are telling me that its NOT as addictive as caffeine, cigarettes, heroin, alcohol? Com’mon now, lets be realistic.

          • Look, I can tell you are young, so I’m going to try to say this to you kindly.

            No, I don’t smoke marijuana. I don’t want my head to fall off.

            If you don’t think cannabis is your thing, by all means stay away from it. I would never suggest anyone use cannabis until 21 or whatever. I also wouldn’t suggest you drink alcohol, or smoke tobacco. Those are actually far worse. Your views on cannabis are coming straight out of fear mongering propaganda BS like reefer madness and DARE. You’ve been lied to about a lot of things. Do some research.

            Direct Deaths From Substances in the US each year.
            (Look it up)

            Tobacco – 400,000 people killed
            Alcohol – 100,000 people killed
            Legal Prescription Drugs – 20,000 killed
            Illegal Drugs (other than cannabis) 15,000 killed
            Caffeine – 2000 killed
            Cannabis – 0 Direct Deaths EVER!! (in 10,000 years of use)

            I have a great career, a beautiful family whom I love with all my heart, a house, I exercise regularly, read, play music…. 80% of the time id say I’m the one who gets up and plays with the kids before my wife does. So I get out of bed and focus just fine thanks. Thank you for being concerned for me though. If you did a little research outside of what the powers that be tell you, you would realize that CANABIS is actually neuro protective.

            So for your poor friends (how old are they 16?) I’d say absolutely they should stay away from pot, alcohol, tobacco. It sounds like they are lazy and have no resolve. Marijuana is not causing them to be this way. That’s just another propaganda lie.

            Also, there are 2 types of addiction; physical addiction, and psychological addiction. You might want to educate yourself more on that.

            Cannabis is less physically addictive than alcohol, tobacco, heroin, and coffee. Anyone with any credibility at all will tell you the same thing. When you don’t get pot, you just wish you had some. You don’t physically shake, sweat, panic, convulse like you do with the other drugs mentioned.

            Is cannabis habitual? Absolutely, it’s enjoyable! I’d recommend it to any adult. Just not kids!

            Here are some other pot heads who according to you walked around in a fog and got nothing accomplished in life.

            Hemp meant marijuana also back in these days

            “Two of my favorite things are sitting on my front porch smoking a pipe of sweet hemp, and playing my Hohner harmonica.”

            -Abraham Lincoln

            “Make the most of the Indian Hemp Seed and sow it everywhere”

            -George Washington

            “We shall, by and by, want a world of hemp more for our own consumption.”

            - John Adams, U.S. President

            “Hemp is of first necessity to the wealth & protection of the country.”

            - Thomas Jefferson

            It’s a wonder they got anything accomplished in building a nation huh if they were walking around in a cloud all day.

            Please watch this. This is the real reason cannabis is illegal…. but by all means, as a kid…. stay away… study… I agree.

            http://youtu.be/d7fa4gV06pg

            Please just don’t feel you have to impose your beliefs on everyone else. That’s just arrogant.

            There’s a word for people who are not given sovereignty over their own bodies. They are called slaves.

            Ps.

            Question for you. Who would you rather control drug distribution in this country ? Criminals, or the government?

            If you voted for the government, congratulations!! You are against the War on Drugs!

            Source: Jack Cole 14 yr undercover narcotics officer with the NJ State Police.

            http://youtu.be/_7Cu6wnhv0M

            Ok, sorry, but have responsibilities to attend to now.

          • well done.. it’s a pity that he’ll never make the time to actually check any of the links…

          • Cannabinoid deficient BLPs(backwards looking people) can be quite tough to reason with can’t they ;) . You can’t sustain a lie forever though.

          • well even if he is….I have seen people who are very functionable! you do build a level of tolerance, yes some people are like that, but not all! and no it is not addictive as other drugs or harmful!

          • Keep the drugs and money out of the hands of gangs and children by regulating and taxing marijuana and putting the revenue towards health care and education. The people who smoke marijuana are going to do it anyways and by rights they should be allowed to as responsable adults. You mention a “dark side” of grow ops which would not exist if pot were legalized. Marijuana has been proven to be less addictive than alcohol, tobacco and even the coffee bean. Educate your self before posting about “something that you don’t have a clue about”.

            Please visit stoptheviolencebc.org and sensiblebc.ca to educate yourself.

          • Irrespective of any of your other points, can I just point out that regulation and taxation aren’t actually effective at keeping drugs away from kids and money out of the hands of gangs? Look at tobacco – kids still smoke despite sales of tobacco being banned to those under 18, and campaigns to crack down to those selling to minors. Increased taxation on tobacco has led to smuggling & bootlegging. Legalization & regulation of marijuana is no panacea.

          • Yes, look at tobacco. Tobacco smoking rates have been declining for decades. Fewer Canadian teens try tobacco than cannabis. Evidently education and attempting to restrict sales to adults is better than prohibition. Arresting responsible adults is a poor way to “send a message” to irresponsible teenagers. Yes, high taxes make a black market viable. The trick is to set taxes high enough to discourage use and defray social costs and low enough not to spawn a black market. No, legalization would not be a panacea, but it doesn’t need to be, it just needs to be better than prohibition.

          • I’m pleased to see tobacco use declining, but note that the trend started from a high of something like 40% of the population being smokers with a frequency of use much higher than cannabis smokers. I suspect that the full effects of legalization will only be apparent after several years (perhaps decades.) The current evidence is incomplete and contradictory. Whether it points to legalization or prohibition largely seems to depend on one’s initial perspective. I guess the real question is if it turns out that legalization leads to tobacco-style health and public safety issues, would you consider a return to prohibition?

          • The data concerning legalization of alcohol in the USA are not even remotely difficult to interpret. Even with all the damage alcohol does, it’s STILL better today than it was under prohibition.

          • Look, I’m not questioning the potential to decrease crime with marijuana legalization. The problem is more related to public health. Public health and epidemiological trends don’t usually become apparent until there’s a large population to provide a statistically significant signal to analyze. We don’t have that kind of data for marijuana because prohibition has kept usage relatively low. Take alcohol as an example. The US CDC reports alcohol prevalance as follows:

            Percent of adults 18 years of age and over who were current regular drinkers (at least 12 drinks in the past year): 51.5%

            Percent of adults 18 years of age and over who were current infrequent drinkers (1-11 drinks in the past year): 13.6%

            That’s 65.1% of a US population of 350 million who report using alcohol, or 227.9 million people.

            In turn, they report the following alcohol-related mortality:

            Number of alcoholic liver disease deaths: 15,990

            Number of alcohol-induced deaths, excluding accidents and homicides: 25,692.

            That’s 41,682 deaths per year out 227.9 million alcohol users, or 0.018% of the users. That would be equivalent to 1 death out of 5000 users, which is not a huge signal. 1 additional death would double that rate, 1 less death would make the signal disappear altogether.

            Alcohol deaths are a pretty dramatic example of this sort of thing, and it points to the fact that alcohol has some significant societal impacts. My point is that we don’t have truly comparable data for marijuana because it hasn’t actually had such widespread or frequent usage; we don’t know what’s going to happen or the long-term consequences. It’s well worth bearing that in mind when it comes to a situation of the devil you know vs. the devil you don’t.

          • Yes, alcohol has social impacts. They’re just not near as bad as the social impacts it had before legalization. Some of those impacts:
            1) Making gangsters rich, so they can run their prostitution, extortion, and gambling rackets without fear of the money drying up. A major factor with marijuana as well. Marijuana operations finance other illegal operations.
            2) Straight-up death toll: Anyone who’s lived in gangland can tell you a LOT of people get shot. This was true of alcohol’s prohibition period as well.
            3) Policing resources: North America wastes billions every year trying to stop drug trafficking. Not matter how many people they bust, the trade is so lucrative that new dealer pop up to replace busted or dead ones almost instantly. Not to mention the criminalization of people who otherwise would be productive members of society that comes from drug busts.
            I’d say we know exactly what is going to happen – the usage-based social harms of marijuana will remain in force. They may even expand. However, they won’t expand to near the scale of the social harm caused by its criminalization, and the taxation of the drug will provide money for rehab programs, etc. just as alcohol taxes provide funding for AA programs. Police budgets will be able to be redirected, providing even more social good.
            A Senate committee studied and published a report on decriminalizing marijuana in 2007. Their recommendation, taking all factors into account, was that marijuana was a relatively harmless drug and legalizing it could provide economic, social, and judicial benefits. The current government has chosen to ignore that report in favour of 3-month minimum sentences for possession of marijuana. How much does THAT cost in terms of social justice?

          • “We don’t have that kind of data for marijuana because
            prohibition has kept usage relatively low.”

            Nonsense. Cannabis has been widely used since before written history. Studies have been done on populations in Jamaica and Costa Rica that have used cannabis for generations. It’s been over 40 years since Woodstock. There have been thousands of studies on cannabis, including long-term chronic use, 99 per cent of them intent on finding harms that would retroactively justify prohibition. If people suffer serious health problems from cannabis we would have seen it by now.

            Again, usage rates are not related to cannabis laws.

            By way of context, a study came out recently in CMAJ showing that most doctors do not have a clue about the adverse side-effects and drug interactions of the relatively new pharmaceuticals they hand out like candy.

          • Exactly!!

          • Why don’t you try reading some medical journals. I think you’d be surprised to find caffeine is far more dangers the Cannabis, to the average person.

          • The data in regards to marijuana use isn’t available because prohibition has kept it’s usage relatively low???? Seriously?? Wow….wrong, wrong, wrong!!

          • How does the fact that more people at one time smoked tobacco than now consume cannabis negate the fact that we have been successful at reducing smoking rates without criminalizing all smokers, young and old, casual or chronic, or locking up convenience store proprietors?

            I agree that it will take some time for society to adjust to a regulated market. What really controls use and prevents use from becoming abuse are social customs and mores, and these have been impeded by prohibition. For example, I can teach my kids how to drink responsibly.

            If the intent is to reduce the harms and social costs associated with cannabis cultivation and consumption, then clearly a legally regulated market would be much better.

            “if it turns out that legalization leads to tobacco-style health and public safety issues …”

            You mean, if it mysteriously came to pass that cannabis became physically addictive and killed half the people who take up the habit? No, I would still think it is a bad idea to abdicate control of it to criminals and teenagers who sell drugs of unknown provenance, potency and purity to anyone of any age, any time, anywhere, tax free, on commission, no questions asked. The more harmful the substance, the less prohibiting it makes sense.

            The debate isn’t about whether or not cannabis should exist.

          • Who’s arguing about whether cannabis should exist or not? It does exist. The point I seek to understand is the transfer function between widespread availability of marijuana, significant reduction in the potential cost (price and risk of legal sanction) for consuming marijuana, the number of people using it, and the detectability of low frequency events that aren’t apparent with the current base of low frequency users. Tobacco is an excellent example of this. It was used for hundreds of years, but usage didn’t become truly widespread or intense until the advent of commercial tobacco and its distribution as part of 2 world wars. That’s when we started to see the health impact – various cancers, heart disease, lung disease, addiction. By that point, we had a massive problem to deal with as usage was widespread. A concerted public health campaign has seen a dramatic decrease in tobacco use and the associated illnesses, but there are still many people addicted and impacted today. So, when people propose legalization of a substance with more significant psychoactive effects and the potential for addiction, I’m not particularly eager to see how this experiment is going to run. Funny how the precautionary principle is a sacred tenet among many people when it comes the environment, and not so much in terms of public health.

          • “Who’s arguing about whether cannabis should exist or not?”

            Most prohibitionists seem to think that’s what we’re arguing about, and it was implicit in your question of whether or not I’d favour prohibition if it came to light that cannabis was as harmful as tobacco.

            “widespread availability of marijuana,”

            Once you reach a certain point of availability, it becomes a red herring. Anyone can buy and huff gasoline but few are so inclined.

            “significant reduction in the potential cost (price”

            The price reduction need not be that significant.

            “and risk of legal sanction)”

            The risk of legal sanctions are tiny, and as the author pointed out, usage rates seem to rise and fall with no apparent statistical relationship to cannabis laws and their enforcement.

            “That’s when we started to see the health impact -
            various cancers, heart disease, lung disease, addiction.”

            Actually, cancer from tobacco smoking was rare until we began using phosphate fertilizers, and as you point out, even light tobacco smokers will smoke half a pack a day. The average country cannabis smoker has healthier lungs than the average city abstainer. I would also expect vaporization and edibles to become more popular post-prohibition.

            “So, when people propose legalization of a substance with more significant psychoactive effects and the potential for addiction,”

            It’s more like a potential for psychological dependence, like hoarding or stamp collecting or other things people do obsessively and compulsively.

            “Funny how the precautionary principle is a sacred tenet among many people when it comes the environment, and
            not so much in terms of public health.”

            Any number times zero deaths is still zero deaths. Further, we know that cannabis is an economic substitute for alcohol and other psychoactive substances, such that when cannabis usage rates go up, drinking and all the social costs associated with it (half of all homicides, suicides and traffic accidents) go down.

            in other words, any social costs associated with increased use would be more than offset by reductions in drinking, “hard” drug and pharmaceutical use.

            It is not like there are millions of Canadians who would like to be chronic potheads but who are not because they can not obtain cannabis or they fear arrest if they use it. Read the article again. There is no evidence that prohibition suppresses usage rates, so there is no reason to believe usage rates, much less abuse rates, will go up when we legally regulate it.

          • Very true. More young people smoke cannabis in BC than in the Netherlands. Put that in your pipe and smoke it.

          • READ MEDICAl JOURNALS. Dozens of long term studies. One recently finished study, conducted over 11 years and involved over 85,000 male test subjects, found smoking Cannabis could reduce the chance of bladder cancer by up to %45.

          • some precaution prohibiting cannabis turned out to be, eh?. there are more youth that have access to cannabis now than ever, organized crime has grown financially and in sheer numbers both expeditiously as well as exponentially, and big banks carrying on money laundering practices with impunity; those are just a few of the benefits of the prohibition principle. Don’t seem to precautionary to me, but how is that working out for you?

          • Well, for one thing, we could forbid marijuana producers from using Santa Claus to help move product.

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TCIHkZw-v1s

            Tobacco became a huge problem due to advertising like this, run-away greed, and then a rather desperate and disgusting misinformation campaign on the part of commercial tobacco.

            Right from the start, we can avoid this pitfall by not allowing marketing campaigns of this nature, and pushing information that is honest and realistic about the impact of regular cannabis use on the body.

            I have no doubt that more people will use marijuana when it becomes legal. I also have no doubt that the vast majority of them will suffer no more harm than the vast majority that are currently smoking it every now and again. But by all means… more science and less politics.

          • There’s plenty of valid medical studies indicating the health risks of Cannabis are far and few in between. Some of the benefits, even from recreation use, usually far out weight the cons. Though just like anything, moderation is good and some people just shouldn’t use it.

          • Amen! Let adults decide what they can and can’t put in their bodies. And if cannabis was harmful…. You don’t think the DEA, govt, Pharmaceutical companies wouldn’t be parading these emaciated sp? bodies throughout the media?

          • Oh, no. Cheap medicine, people can grow at home, are not conducive to capitalism.

          • Actually, if we has sense enough to REPEAL cannabis prohibition in Canada, 90% of the benefits would be on farmer’s fields and in the supermarkets, reflected in lower food prices, and a safer food supply.

            We would see lowered rates of disease, which would concurrently lower “health care” costs.

            We would INSTANTLY see a decrease in the number of “non-violent non-threats to society” being put into prisons, where they should have simply been left alone, to remain “non-criminals.”

            By not arresting and imprisoning these same “otherwise productive human beings” we would also see a corresponding 2+ BILLION in lowered financial waste, which could then be repurposed to something that actually benefits the Canadian people.
            The only way to find out is to see if doing what the majority of thinking people know is right will work, or if doing what the majority of thinking people understand is wrong “suddenly changes into the right thing” by virtue of just refusing to do the right thing long enough.

            After all, the more times you hear a lie, the more people believe it is true…so maybe we just have to keep locking up people for using a safe, natural, non-toxic, beneficial and EFFECTIVE medicinal plant…and eventually, all of the “facts” just won’t matter to anyone any more?

          • The results per capita in Spain are a good indicator as to use over a period of time. The current evidence is not incomplete or contradictory! There is no way that legalization will lead to any public safety or tobacco-style health effects. There are truck loads of scientific studies to back this up.

          • Thats is just what the government doesn’t want. They want to control the sales and production of it. Charge to much there will be to much of a black market if it costs more than current street value.

          • Those problem are minor compared to what they could be, and you know it.
            Legalization of booze wasn’t a panacea for the States, either, but it sure as hell reduced the amount of social harm it did, by several orders of magnitude.
            Nothing will ever be perfect. Does that mean we shouldn’t try to make it better?

          • Im guessing you never went to high school or you would know that marijuana was easier to get than alcohol and cigarettes. You can literally have access to marijuana within 5 minutes with a simple text or conversation with the good old high school drug dealer. Now alcohol and cigarettes on the other hand required an older sibling/friend to actually meet with you get your cash and then drive to purchase the goods. It was a huge hassle and often people are unable to find a “boot” or whatever you want to call it.
            The drug war has failed. The only logical way forward is to legalize and regulate marijuana. Its just too bad that a minority of canadians are too stubborn and ignorant to understand this.

          • In high school it was easier for me to get weed, coke, mushrooms and just about any other illegal drug. Alcohol and tobacco, where hard to get, cause most suppliers respect the law.

            Legalizing won’t remove all problems, but it will help.

          • It’s time we REPEALED prohibition. For everyone. Everywhere.

            “More of the same” isn’t working. It never did. It never will.

            IT CAN’T…because it was never DESIGNED to.

            Not “decriminalization.” Not “legalization.” Not “tax and regulate.” Not “regulate like _______.” Not “government controlled.” Not “corporate monopoly controlled.” Not even “for approved and specifically licensed medicinal use only.”

            ALL of those are just different forms of “specifically delineated” PROHIBITION.

            If you want it over, you have to REPEAL it.

            Unless you really WANT “more of the same?”

          • well they have issues with grow ops anyways right now today, so what real difference will it make?! they exist now and will even after they legalize it.

          • and yes al need to go to SensibleBC.com!

          • Dear Mcleans I am writing this way because I do not know of another way to do so.Marajuana has a very adverse effect on me. It makes it extremely difficult to think, and i have very violent tendencies when under the influence of this plant. Legalizing it makes it so that no place for me is safe. I will not be able to go through a normal day without battleing someone elses issues. Its not legal to poke someone with a needle full of drugs, why should it be leagal to pollute my air with mind alterning substance? It take very little to effect me…even just a few inhales of second hand smoke make my life extremly difficult. I plead and implore you not to ruin my life with the legalization of this drug. Clean drug free air should be my right!

          • you sound like you would need a doctors help no matter what you do. If you get violent on Cannabis then you probably have mental issues in the first place.

          • Hey, guess what? If it gets legalized, all the gang stuff goes away. Grow ops, turf wars, etc.
            But I can see you’d rather keep that going…

          • 1. Not toking up does not prevent function. 2. The “dark side of grow ops” is created solely because it’s illegal. 3. Hashish is just concentrated THC, it has no more negative qualities. Hashish has also been used for cooking and medicine for thousands of years. Tell me, is your head just decoration? Does your head echo when you tap it? How does it feel to flunk primary school?

          • OH SNAP!!

          • The same could be said about alcohol. How many people went blind, or died from drinking bad bathtub gin? It wasn’t alcohol’s fault, people cut it with poisons. Same as unsafe grow ops, it’s not Cannabis’s fault people don’t grow it right. Pretty much any industry is like that, their’s the safe way of doing things and all the dangerous ways of doing things. Government regulations are what keeps industries in check.

          • I am stunned to find that I fully agree with you on this metropika.

            I do love reading all the points about how great weed is, expands the mind and all. I wonder, are these people high while they are writing??

          • How does it feel to know the only person siding with you here is a complete imbecile? You even said yourself you are surprised. Couldn’t mean you are wrong could it? Heavens no! No need to do any research is there?

          • I don’t consider other people’s ‘feelings’ when coming to my own conclusions. This thread is obviously of some importance to tokers and so they swamp the board trying to use a form of peer pressure to get others to back off.

            Back in the real world, smoking pot is regarded as a sign of immaturity (teenagers smoking to get a reaction) or stupidity (adults smoking for recreation, yah whatever) or inability to make sound decisions.

            I’ve heard all sort of stories about how great toking up is, how it isn’t addictive, blah, blah, blah…

            LET ME BE CLEAR: your opinion as a pot smoker is irrelevant! I just don’t care what you have to say on this topic.

            Rest assured, all yee tokers, I will fire you if you are ever caught (privately or by the cops), fail a drug test, or otherwise partake in weed.

          • That sounds brilliant. So basically your argument is, cannabis is bad because it is against the law, all people who use cannabis’ opinion doesn’t count, and you were educated through propaganda like Reefer Madness? Does that sound about right? But then again, I am talking to a brick wall.

            Disregard the opinion of anyone who has any experience with the substance. Disregard science as well. Follow draconian laws that only dinosaurs like yourself, and the companies and people who get rich off them agree with… all because you are are either brainwashed, or too lazy to do some actual research.

            Did I sum that up OK? But then again, my opinion doesn’t count. I deserve to be stripped of all of my fundamental rights. My life, and the lives of people close to me deserve to be ruined by the law….. I am the equivalent of a rapist, pedophile, murderer… all for using a substance that when used moderately hurts nobody.

            I know you aren’t listening, but in case anyone else is…. does this sound logical?

            Inspired by the documentary When We Grow, This is What We Can Do. One of the two best documentaries I’ve encountered on cannabis….

            Our drug policies need to be fact and evidenced based. You’d think that was just common sense wouldn’t you? Can you conceive of a drug policy that isn’t fact and evidenced based? Well ours isn’t. Ours are based on politician’s opinions. (See Shaefer Report, Heath Tulin study….)

            And it’s not just me who’s saying this. The public accounts committee, and the national audit office have both publicly criticized the government for not having a drug policy which is fact and evidenced based.

            Watch the Documentary When We Grow, This is What We Can Do. Then make your own decision.

            Would you rather listen to this dinosaur? Or people with real science and research behind their arguments.
            E.g. Dr Nutt, former drug Czar in the UK who was fired for claiming Marijuana was far safer than cigarettes and alcohol… or Dr. Lester Grinspoon, Professer Emmeritus from Harvard, who set out to write on how cannabis use damaged his students, but ended up instead writing the book Marijuana Reconsidered, supporting the declassification of cannabis.

            Your choice.

            You and Metropika…. Great minds think alike huh?

          • That bit is found approx 18 mins into the documentary.

          • Well said.

          • I’ve smoked pot extensively in the past (no longer however,) and even at the times when my use was the heaviest, I could quit and have no desire to smoke any at all for as long as I wanted.

            I find Coca-cola more addictive than pot.

          • Read the article you idiot!! Your comments make it clear that you did NOT! Cannabis is NOT physically addictive. You may become fond of the habit and do it daily but that is a mental and psychological habit. No one EVER has had the shakes or sweats or any other withdrawal symptom from pot. Crabbiness is the worst withdrawal symptom you will ever see. Grow-ops and other under ground dealer networks are a product of illegality. I guess Prohibition wasn’t a big enough clue for you. HELLO…did not work. By the way…I guess you missed the part about Marijuana smoke having actually increased lung capacity as the opposite is true with cigarette smoke….pretty weird that cigarettes are legal and lethal as is alcohol but the substance that is so benign is not. Stupid!

          • Know why these people can’t function? Because of illness. Mental and physical. This wonderful plant is -healing- people in a way that corporate pills cannot with far less damage. Marijuana itself is NOT a physically addictive substance unlike many of the painkillers and anxiety medication prescribed by doctors all over Canada.

            If marijuana was legalized then both teens and adults would not HAVE to go to drug dealers and put themselves in dangerous situations.

          • Where do I even start with this. Unfortunately people like yourself are the reason why we are wasting all of this money on a war we will never win. I am a cannabis user, I use rather frequently sometime up to every day. Your opinion on this matter could not be any more WRONG. I have never woke up and thought I will not be able to function without toking, If its something I want to do that’s fine but it does not have anything to do with my everyday functionality. That is just absurd, also the dark side of grow ops? Well if you weren’t so nieves you would realize the only reason people are killed over these things is because of prohibition itself, if the government made it legal it would end the black market for the product and therefore take this all away from the criminals. No one would be dying over a legal product. I am absolutely disgusted with how closed minded some people are. The government formed your opinion here. Sorry for being so blunt about things but people like you are the reason cannabis has a bad name.

          • I so agree metropika and thank-you for posting some sense.

          • Sounds to me like you are the one who is spouting off about something you know nothing about.

          • it is more so habit forming! there is no addictive ingredients in Cannabis!!

          • hahahahahahahahahahaha… dude.. google “the union”… watch it.. learn and think before you type.. just because someone wants to do a wake and bake doesn’t make them an addict.. nice try.. but no free chicken dinner for you..

          • Duh . . . the reason there is a dark side is the 90-year prohibition. Cannabis is a good plant that was the basis of most of the tinctures and potions the travelling medicine shows used . . . and they helped!

          • seriously? dude, just shut your mouth. I use to know a guy who sucked dick for coke. Now that’s an addiction man. Have you ever sucked some dick for maijuana? I thought so.

          • And it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out how hashish is made you fucking narc.

        • No one, has ever ODed on Cannabis. It’s impossible. The worst you can do is take too much and pass out.

        • Agreed (not the ‘dummy’ part).
          Comparing crack or any other drug to this one is very very silly after the briefest review of scientific literature.

          Do you know how many top level medical professionals/specialists, the best in their fields, I know use cannabis to relax instead of alcohol which they know is more addictive and destructive?
          At least 6.

          I prefer a beer but I think others should have a choice that is not dictated by big pharma’s vested interests and their purchased politicians (like Harper).

          • Yes, I agree, I don’t really like calling people names. It’s hard sometimes though when some of the things these ignorant people say are so asinine!

        • Seriously!!?? Did you see what his love of the Halflings leaf did to Gandalf’s mind? The One Ring was under Gandalf’s nose for over 50 years but he was too high to see it. You’ve been schooled, Capt. Jim.

      • froggie, it’s aboot personal freedom also known as Liberty. How dare you or anyone else prohibit in masses gods (mother nature’s ) natural medicine? A person in tuned with there mind and body does not need a quack Dr. telling them what pills to pop.

        the true dealers in this world are the pharmaceutical companies.

        But sadly far too many people have been brain washed into thinking drugs = addiction = criminal.

        • I love the personal freedom angle, that always makes me chuckle. The only time pot smokers care about personal freedom is when it comes to pot and sex, all else be damned.

          • The only time Conservatives care about personal freedom is when it’s time to pay their taxes. The rest of the time they go around advocating for big government with laws, police and jails to coerce the rest of us into adopting their false morality.

          • Please expand on this, and give reasons why this makes you chuckle. Or are you just like Metropika? Vomit, then whatever comes out, generalize that everyone who smokes pot is exactly alike, throw in a stupid stoner comment, maybe an LOL and an insult, and think that that is a credible argument. Do tell, I’m waiting.

          • I agree its time these laws are changed even in the USA they are realizing that

      • If you think there is any comparison between crack and cannabis you need to do some reading and educate yourself.

      • Crack makes alcohol look like a choirboy. They’re hardly the same thing. Cannabis is even less addictive than caffeine and can be linked to far less health risks.

        • Actually, that is not true. Metropika strongly refuted this.

          • ;)

      • You don’t have a clue what you are talking about and clearly did not read the article and the results of the scientific studies! Crack and pot….wow talk about completely different universes.

      • The fact that you can even compare crack to cannabis shows how fundamentally illegitimate you are.

      • In my life time, I have seen crackheads do some really crazy sh*t mainly because the have lost all inhibitions and crazed by crack cocaine.
        I have seen crackheads rob people, homes, I have seen them rob their family’s for crack money, I have seen crackheads neglect their children,
        Ask any crack head if they get the sh*ts when you just mention the word crack(literally).
        I have seen crackheads lie,cheat,steel, a bunch of them sell their bodies for crack money or they take their kids food money for crack or both.

        So every time I hear of our crack addicted mayor I think of all of the above.
        do not get me wrong I feel bad for people hooked on crack or any hard drugs for that matter.

        on the other hand, Cannabis, I am not going to say 100% no one has ever not stole to buy some weed because people do low things for all kinds of reasons weed is no exception, but I will say that for sure you will not see a pot head do all the things a crackhead would do.
        and 2 other things is that for one, it has been a medicine for 1000′s of years before any man made medicine came along. and for 2 it does really help a lot of people, I have seen people about to get into an all out fight smoke a J and next thing you know they are best friends.
        It helps people with all kinds of medical ailments. I could go on and on, to be honest the only trouble pot has ever cause me in all my years of smoking is legal trouble.
        (once got charge for half a smoke joint over 20 years ago, only person that benefited from that was my lawyer who got me off, I did not learn any point and the Gov did not earn anything).
        Also one last thing, keeping it illegal only keeps a blackmarket going strong. if the Gov woke up one day and said you know what, it is just a plant, we do not give a sh*t about it any more.
        prices would drop over night as people grew their own in small amounts and as business popped up on the commercial end. all commercial oparations would pay tax in the forum of permits and sales tax, than you have a regulated industry, oh and for the people who grew small amounts at home or whatever they would pay tax in the forum of perching products like seeds and plant food etc etc….

    • LEGALIZE THE GANJA!!!

      • Yah mon! Got to have Kaya now.

    • Next to the side-effects of liver/stomach destroying pain medication,

      the scary side effects of anti-depressants and mood control pharmaceuticals (some of which have significant side effects, like DEATH), (virtyally side-effect-less) cannabis seems like a savior to many chronic and mentally ill people.

      Nevertheless, cannabis cannot be patented and commercialized by big-pharma therefore the lack of studies, lack of regulation, lack of logic and the ongoing fear-inducing propaganda by Corporate sponsored Republicans and Conservatives.

      Comparing it to alcohol, a known depression-inducing-substance which is mass commercialized and freely distributed, keeps anti-depressant pharmaceuticals happily medicating 50% of the population to the tune of hundreds of Billions per year.

      To many big-pharma’s a cheap alternative to their dangerous products signifies a potential loss of 50% of sales. Not something their Republican sponsored Congress men will allow. Harper wants those board of director seats on big pharma after his stint at ruining Canada, he will play ball with pharma all the way…

      What a sweet vulture capitalistic symbiotic relationship!

      So many vested interests to fight, so little time.

      • Canadian researchers have estimated the following social costs per user per year: Alcohol $165.11, Tobacco $822.26, Marijuana $20.50

        Source: The costs of substance abuse in Canada 2002. Ottawa: Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse.

    • Actually, in a “worst case scenario”, Emperor Harperius only wants to remove ALL medicinal growing rights from “human beings who are currently ‘authorized’ to grow their own for medicinal use” and put a maximum of 30,000 people (who can’t afford an estimated MINIMUM of $1,500.00 PER MONTH!!!) in prison. (Warehousing human beings for profit will not be far behind!)

      “Next-to-worst scenario” is that about 1/3 of the current patients suffer needlessly, for lack of enough “disposable income” to support the “Canadian Corporate Cannabis Monopoly” that Harperius dreamed up, another 1/3 will go to prison and for the same reason, and another third will simply die or commit suicide due to their government’s decision that if you don’t pay a corporation for something you can grow yourself for pennies, you deserve to suffer, die or go to prison.

      But as long as OUR RIGHTS are transferred to CORPORATIONS, we are expected to believe that everything will be just fine, and all of the problems in the world will miraculously disappear.

      Sadly, though, this will DOUBLE the profits that the REAL criminals make, and it will increase the amount of ready currency in the hands of cartels, gangs, which will then be used to import cocaine, heroin, and anything that actually can KILL you.

      Once again, doing the absolute opposite of what needs to be done to address the problems is the way “The Harper Government” chooses to go…even though the majority of Canadians understand that political points with the wilfully ignorant are NOT more important than human life, or forcing people to suffer needlessly.

      PS: Expect health care costs to rise significantly, in addition to the potential 4 BILLION rise in anual prison/court/police costs.

    • If the Government was serious about our health they would ban cigarettes(I am a smoker) and alcohol. Weed has (my opinion only) caused far less damage. The people that are going to get addicted will do so anyways and since weed is readily available that is not going to change. Time to legalize it and deal with any problems rather than keep it in the underground community. Legalization would also offer a safer product that would not have additives to it. The biggest problem getting it legalized are the drug dealers who would be the most opposed to it as their business would suffer the most. Kind of makes you wonder where the opposition is really coming from. Think of what the tax dollars from legalized and commercially produced weed could do for our health care system. Same problems but more money to deal with them.

    • stephen harper is an idiot, and until our government smartens up, we will never see pot legalized

  2. So now that you’ve read this, get involved in making the laws change! Join the Sensible BC campaign, and let’s make history. Otherwise we’ll be passing these stupid laws down to our kids and grandkids, just like they were passed down to us. http://SensibleBC.ca

  3. excellent article.

  4. I am the 1 millionth person! =(

    • puff,puff,pass….

  5. Very well articulated, but there could have been more said about the medical benefits of marijuana for a litany of diseases and ailments.

  6. Outstanding article, going some way toward redeeming Macleans for publishing Emily Murphy.

  7. Tobacco industry 2.0. Congratulations. Ironic that just as tobacco starts receding, the movement to bring in its replacement ramps up.
    Because what our society really needs the most right now is more people whacked out on drugs.

    • …Thank you My Little Pony fan, you are clearly not “whacked out”. Because a normal adult would really enjoy a show meant for 8 year old girls. In your case, drugs is definitely the answer.

  8. No drug should ever be banned. That’s insanity.

    Every drug has it’s good uses, and any drug can be abused…..to ban all of them is moral tripe.

    Pot itself should be sold at the liquor store.

    Legalize, regulate, tax.

    • Wait wait wait…Every drug has it’s good uses?

      What about cocaine? Heroine? Meth?

      where are the useful benefits there? Besides, of course, destroyed lives and fat bank accounts overseas…for the producers and dealers.

      • This comment was deleted.

        • I believe you mean *would we* lol. Anyways, try to understand that no drug is inherently bad.

          • It’s just a lot of them should never be used recreationally, regardless of how “good” it feels.

          • In my opinion, a drug becomes a bad thing when the user’s use starts bringing negative effects on those around them.

            I’m a father of two, and if my alleged use of (alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, coke, meth, crack etc.) affects my wife and kids negatively e.g I become abusive, neglectful, it causes me to expire early etc. then someone needs to smack me upside the head! However, the way to deal with me should be to send me TO TREATMENT! NOT PRISON! Unless my actions broke the law of course. (Oh damn, I hope some Prohibitionist nitwit doesn’t say “But cannabis is bad because it’s illegal.”

            By the way, of the drugs listed above, marijuana is by far the least harmful.

            Canadian researchers have estimated the following social costs per user per year: Alcohol $165.11, Tobacco $822.26, Marijuana $20.50

            Source: The costs of substance abuse in Canada 2002. Ottawa: Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse.

          • Spread the word!

          • One of my favourite Joe Rogan quotes.

            “You can’t punish someone for a crime that HURTS NO ONE!!”

          • Agreed. Kinda like guns. Guns are not inherently bad. People who abuse their guns are inherently bad. Let’s return the shooting ranges to UofT and Union Station so I can enjoy my Charter Rights to target practice as long as I don’t hurt anyone.

      • Well if you google each drug, you’ll find that it has a good use……it’s just abused on the street.

        People even knock over an elderly lady and take her heart medicine……sell it, or ingest it…abuse it anyway…..but we wouldn’t ban the heart medicine because some idiot does that.

        • We would ban it when the patent runs out, and if it could then be produced at significantly lower profit margins by anyone who wanted to.

          Let’s look at the reality of the “pharmaceutical chemical market”…they don’t give a good god damn if you die when they’re making 10,000% profit margins…and they don’t give a damn about the truth if acknowledging it means they DON’T get their thousands of percent profits.

          PS: You can’t grow a drug.

      • Cocaine is a analgesic, stimulant, and appetite suppressant. It’s not really used medicinally all that much as there are better (and safer) drugs available to do the same thing. But it does have its uses.

        Heroines are female heroes, and are irrelevant to a discussion on drugs. Heroin (which is what I assume you meant, but could not pass up the joke) is just a chemical variation on morphine, and is in general use in many hospitals (especially in the UK.)

        Dextromethamphetamine is commonly prescribed for ADHD and exogenous obesity (i.e. obesity stemming from factors beyond a person’s control.) Crystal meth is basically the homebrew version.

        Booze, on the other hand, has little medicinal value beyond an improvised antiseptic and temporarily boosting the attractiveness of others.

        • Alcohol is an excellent solvent, for making tinctures, even out of Cannabis. It would allow one to achieve the same effect, and as fast as smoke, but taking it orally, so it absorbs under the tongue. Even Queen Victoria used Cannabis tinters for menstrual cramps.

      • Maybe not Meth since that comes from cleaning fluids found under your sink. Historically, cocaine and heroine have been used in medicine but are pretty destructive for recreational use as they are addictive and destroy tissue.

        There is some common sense to be applied here and the arguments in favor of marijuana regularization remain extremely compelling, especially when matched with the arguments opposed to marijuana regularization.

        Why is it so hard for the fear-based people such as yourself to engage in common sense arguments?

        • I really have no interest in any hard drug, so pardon me if I’m incorrect, but what about Bath Salt’s value? Wouldn’t touch that stuff with a ten foot pole.

      • cocaine use to have many medical uses, including topical anesthetic. Though now a days, there are better substances.

        • Actually, cocaine is still used medicinally today in eye drops used as an anæsthetic during laser eye surgery, as one example.

  9. If weed was society’s drug of choice instead of alcohol, rather than having had 2 Stanley Cup riots, Vancouver would have had 2 Stanley Cup munchies fests. I know which I’d prefer.

    • Instead of drinking beer outta lord Stanly’s cup Pack that Bowl up!

  10. We have reached the tipping point. Obviously there is a need for improvement in drug education as we look towards a post legalization era. There is a shortage of bold, coherent, inspiring yet realistic visions of what drug education could be like 10~20 years from now. Social networking like the Internet, Facebook, Twitter are enabling and empowering youth to rise to the occasion and fill in the hypocritical lies offered them by ignorant governments that push mandatory minimum sentencing and force it’s citizens to abide by unjust laws. Educators demand more for their students and for Canadian men, women and families!

    Quality drug information is out there, which puts a new twist on what people are actually ‘doing’ about unjust laws. They’re fighting for their rights at the same time as their neighbour goes to jail. It is time to open our minds, change must come to institutions, not only how schools deliver drug education but also by whom. Children are the people who most need an amplification of their intellectual capacities. I have always said, and I say it again, include youth in drug policy reform. Youth need to be at the table to help develop their vision of how this immensely powerful technology can help support new forms of quality, health and evidenced based drug education in their schools. Let them experience unimaginable levels of knowledge about marijuana that surpasses anything D.A.R.E. or the government has thrown at them. http://www.facebook.com/EFSDP

    • Well said, Judith, the fact is, if bold, coherent, inspiring yet realistic visions of what drug education could be like 10~20 years from now, it would be highly advisable to make sure that information that (drug) education are based on that which is historically accurate. As it stands, that cannot be said about any part of Canadian cannabis legislation.

      In fact, one of Canada’s best kept secret may well be that the majority of Canadians have no idea how cannabis was criminalized or, for that matter, why. They think they do, but they are wrong; not because of any error on their part, but simply because they’ve been lied to by successive governments ever since cannabis was first criminalized.

      Unfortunately, the article offers nothing to that end; it simply regurgitates the
      Senate Reports conclusion, that, “Early drug legislation was largely based on a moral panic, racist sentiment and a notorious absence of debate.” then it simply moves on. If anything, all this article does is to reinforce the idea that the Senates’ conclusion is where it ends. And that is hardly the case. Nowhere does the article even begin to dissect the Senate’s statement or question how that “notorious absence of debate” came about. Then there is the “there is a new drug in the schedule” controversy. The fact is, there is an abundance of material that not only contradicts the very premise that a notorious absence of debate occurred it explains the impetus behind that criminalization; it is called Hansard.

      Another excellent source, which is considered to be a major contribution in
      the field of the sociology of law, is Panic and Indifference by Giffen, Lambert and Endicott.

  11. I whole heartedly agree decriminalize marijuana then legalize it. It makes no sense to use a plant medicinally, yet classify it illegal. The only reason the it hasnt been legalized is because the government hasnt figured out how to control the distribution and taxation of marijuana.were sitting on a gold mine here, think of the billions genereted from sales. Similar to tobacco and alcohol. A Country in debt, we would be no more. :-)

  12. I am sick to death of being treated like a criminal and a pariah because I smoke Cannabis. I’m Epileptic and it helps reduce my seizures. Sometimes, because of cost, I CAN’T obtain any of my herbal meds. No withdrawal. No problems (except for my seizures coming back) Worse are when, at rallies, we have people sticking middle fingers at us. ENOUGH ALREADY!

    I am NOT saying there are NO problems from Cannabis. Some people can NOT handle their bud. But what about the rest of us, who have been doing it for YEARS and who are able to function and go about their lives perfectly fine? Why are the responsible adults being punished because of some people who are not honest with themselves about their ability to deal with it? The prohibition of Cannabis is based on RACISM! Put that in your pipe, mull it over, do some research that is NOT funded by people who have monetary interests that make them want to keep it illegal and then I’m sure you’ll see making it legal is the RIGHT way to go so we stop treating peaceful people who harm NO ONE with their Cannabis consumption like they are horrible violent criminals (and stop giving kids a record for experimenting like some kids do!)

    • Already one dislike, not even a full minute after posting? Well, whoever it was who disliked, you must like treating innocent and peaceful (and sick people, like myself) as if we are nothing….How do you sleep at night?

      • The dislike was probably Metropika. He/She/It thinks all people who use cannabis are stoners, and all those people are stupid.

        I on the other hand give you two emphatic thumbs up! Absolutely ridiculous that anyone should thumb their nose at you for using a substance that not only works, but is safe. You rock!

        • Thanks “Captain” :)

  13. I seriously cannot believe that in 2013 anyone in this country seriously thinks that legalization of Cannabis will cause more problems than cures!!! It is embarrassing when American States are legalizing Cannabis and Canada of all places is still spewing old myths about this wonderful plant. Magic question of the day…..1st person to answer gets a Hash Brownie!!! (I’ll get 1 from the club of course)…what happens to cost when the supply is much higher than demand? LOL Maybe one of the ‘ignorants’ will answer faster than whoever posted at 2:18 pm today. LOL!!!

    • That’s actually a trick question.

      In classical economic theory, when supply outstrips demand, prices fall. In the case of Drug War Crusader economics, if supply is greater than demand, billions of dollars are wasted in a tragically stupid way that ends up increasing demand and creating more crime. In the subset Harper economy, increased supply leads to STFU, you Liberal hippie, this is none of your business!

      Do I get the brownie?

    • The only reason people think that legalization of Cannabis will cause more problems than cures is because they’ve been lied to for so long that they can’t tell up from down where cannabis is concerned. Nor can most tell the difference between harm related to the substance itself, and the harms related to the manner in which it was and remains criminalized

      The fact that most (people) neither know or question how cannabis was criminalized (how it was added to the schedule of the restricted drug list or, how “there is a new drug in the schedule” mysteriously became “cannabis”) goes to the root of the problem. Hell, many aren’t even aware of the fact that after cannabis was criminalized, it was put on a shelf for the next 9 years until in 1932 there was an arrest (the grand amount that arrest garnered the whopping amount of 4 joints). Today, we’re talking arrests approaching a million.

  14. This comment was deleted.

    • Sure, I’ll watch Marijuana Inc. if you watch “the Union”. What is it? Some NBC show or something? I think I might already have seen it. I’ll check it out later tonight…. Lets let the truth set us free.

      • Metropika – True or False? Marijuana kills brain cells?

      • Case in point, whoever voted this down, where’s your rational argument? But Marijuana is illegal. Drugs are bad mmmkay! Was that you Metropika?

    • This one is a semi retired Engineer who has had a great career. Still take a few contracts now and then. Not bad for 54.

      You have *no* clue do you.

    • “Stoner’s are Stupid”
      Really? You just proved in one sentence how absolutely moronic you are. “Stoner’s” is not plural, it’s possessive you uneducated swine.

  15. This comment was deleted.

    • If we aren’t going to have a rational debate here, then I’m done with trash like you. You haven’t made one rational point that has been backed up by anything other than the lepraucauns floating around in your small mind. Sorry, but I’ve got a lot better things to do with my time than try to talk rationally with an imbecile. Enjoy your life… whatever small narrow minded path that takes you down.

    • You seem to think name-calling is effective debate.
      It isn’t.

      • Do you think there are a lot of people who think like this dude out there? If so, OMG, our society is screwed!

      • It IS however a fine indicator of someone that should never be allowed to breed, or be left alone with children,

        • Oh dear, I meant that to be directed towards that metropika person…

        • Scary huh?

          • LOL. Scary huh? That’s Captain Jimmy coming to the rescue.

            Your’re just a bunch of self righteous, self congratulatory dickheads.
            Dope is for Dopes. My next slogan on a T-shirt and poster.

          • LOL! TTYL! LMFAO! Amazing arguments!! Your posts are so dumb, I can’t stop reading them for the laugh factor. I do however feel dumber each time I read one.

    • Do you think adding LOL to the end of your garbage makes it seem more credible? The only thing to “LOL” about is your insistence that smoking weed is 1. a fraternity and 2. for dim-wits. The only thing you’ve convinced us so far is that you have close to no friends (if any) and you are more dim than the dimmest of dimwits.

      • I think this person is either in grade 5, or dropped out of school after grade 5. It’s comical… in a sad sort of way.

  16. The Medical uses far exceeds any other problems caused by pot.The amount of people curing their incurable diseases or being able to manage their problems better than normal medicines is a very good reason to legalize Cannabis.I know it causes great concern to the Pharmaceutical Companies who are putting out pills and liquids of synthetic THC so they have known how good the plant is for well over a hundred years as I believe it became part of the medical pharmacopeia in 1855.

    • But MSNBC doesn’t say it has medical use… so it can’t be true.

      • Too much MSNBC, even for a US ‘progressive’ (aka a centrist Canadian), is not healthy. Maybe not as bad as Fox, but it stirs you up and upsets you if you watch it more than 1 hr a day. So choose your show wisely.

        • Agree, I was just joking.

  17. FREE THE WEED!!!

  18. Check out the Vid this guy is a Doctor, and wants to get Cannabis classed as a vegetable not a drug by the UN. It is the best green leaf for human consumption, and will improve health world wide if used. Dr Courtney explains this in the vid. I have been using Cannabis for 30+ yrs, I am a Machinist, CNC programmer, I have made everything from rocket engine parts, airplane parts, automotive moulds the list goes on and on.. so if you think weed turns you stupid, think again, and have another beer.
    http://www.cannabisinternational.org/

    • Amen Brother! Wouldn’t have believed it a few yrs. ago. If I can change, hopefully others can too.

  19. Some call it tampee
    Some call it the weed
    Some call it marijuana
    Some of them call it ganja

    Legalize it – don’t criticize it
    Legalize it and i will advertise it

    Singers smoke it
    And players of instruments too
    Legalize it, yeah, yeah
    That’s the best thing you can do
    Doctors smoke it
    Nurses smoke it
    Judges smoke it
    Even the lawyers too

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ABc8ciT5QLs

    • There’s also Dagga (sounds like clearing your throat) in South Africa, and Mota in Mexico.

  20. Instead of spewing garbage in the comments section, why not actually do some research for yourselves first? Dimwits comparing cannabis to crack and saying it destroys brain cells seriously piss me off. What kind of moron pulls information out of their asses and obsessively defends that information?

  21. WHY all the concern about any detrimental effects from marijuana use ? Most prescription drugs have more side effects than the good they may do, forcing the use of many more drugs to counter the side effects. Our food is SO SO polluted with pesticides and herbicides and hormones and antibiotics and a load of poisonous chemicals—the Gov’t says that all is safe to eat ! ! No concern about all the illnesses and deaths. Yet marijuana is demonized and prohibited ? ! ? Thousands die from legal drug side-effects with no outcry but HORRORS there might be a death from marijuana use sometime in the future!! Beware ! Beware ! of this evil satanic weed ! ! GOD where are you ? ?

    Governments don’t think twice about sending young healthy men and women into some insane war that has nothing to do with Canadians, coming home dead–in body bags–others with limbs blown off and brains scrambled, yet using marijuana is a crime—Canadians need to be prevented from using this weed so they can save lives—such hypocrisy ! !

    Harper is pushing a bill so that ONLY corporations can legally grow and market the weed, obviously his concern is NOT health but WHO will be making the profits . Since his strings are pulled by the foreign corporate investors, he must cater to them. Harper’s agenda is very insincere. Since marijuana is not patentable, big PHARMA-CORP cannot exclusively market it and make enormous profits SO Harper is trying to legislate corporate control and investor profits. NO care about citizen HEALTH when investor profits are healthy !!

    The EVIL is not in the weed but in the shameless self-righteous greedy investors’ agenda and HARPER GOV’T agenda, whose ONLY concern is making enormous profits by making people sick and keeping them sick by forcing them to use their outrageously expensive legalized drugs–poisons–instead of a safe weed that can grow almost anywhere. Allowing corporate control of all the seeds[GMO poisons] and food [Monsanto chemically poisoned] will certainly not be a benefit to healthy mankind.

    Harper’s agenda is to turn Canada into a kind of FEUDAL state where the corporations are the aristocracy and the filthy-rich foreign investors the lords and the 99 per cent of the rest of the people the serfs. What a sad sick future ahead ! !

  22. I don’t think Canada is ready to make marijuana legal.
    Just last week the Canadian Navy made a drug bust for hashish all the way across the world. Just like the US, Canada is policeman of the world.

    • I think they should make a Team America – World Police 2, to do with the War on Drugs.

  23. Do you pro-cannabis people out there think there is any correlation between the real truth about the plant, and the absurdity of the drug war,compared to how easy it is to beat down anti-cannabis arguments?

  24. Two reasons why this eminently reasonable idea of legalizing marijuana won’t fly:

    1. The evangelical right is against it. They are a key part of the Conservative base, and much of the reason for the tough on crime legislation. Vote for legalization and they WILL vote against you. The moderates and main stream folks (who are in favor of legalization) often don’t bother to vote. Politicians know these things.

    2. Law enforcement (as has been pointed out above) justifies a good part of it’s budget (and healthy budget increases) on it’s success in the “war on drugs”. This success is based on Marijuana arrests – much of the rest of the “war” is failing. Self preservation will prompt them to warn of the collapse of society if marijuana is legalized.

    • I think you over-estimate the strength of the evangelical right just a bit, but that’s a minor quibble. Don’t forget that organized crime also wants to keep it illegal too. Funny how law enforcement and organized crime are brothers-in-arms on this one, huh?

  25. This comment was deleted.

    • “Marijuana, in it’s natural form, is one of the safest, most therapeutic substances known to man”.

      Francis Young – DEA Judge

      I’m not disputing…. medical marijuana first, but if cannabis has never directly killed anyone, is less physically addictive than coffee, reduces stress, makes you happy, makes you think…. why should an adult need a prescription for it?

      Tobacco kills roughly 400,000 Americans per year. Alcohol directly kills almost 100,000 Americans per year. Why only medical marijuana when these two blatant killers are legal?

      With ongoing research on cannabis’ effect on the endocanabinoid system to regulate the bodies health, why not use preventative medicine rather than reacting all the time? That’s what the drug companies want. That’s where they get rich…. reacting once the disease has come.

      If someone sick and dying from AIDS or cancer with a weakened immune system can use cannabis safely, why not someone in good health?

      Are we all still afraid of the reefer madness hysteria that cannabis turns normal people insane?

  26. Hey Frenchie77, how are the current laws working regarding pot? An absolute failure, waste all that cash on trying to find the grow ops knowing full well the market is still flooded with the stuff, great strategy. Rather spend the money looking for all the pedophiles, rapists and other wastes of skin lurking in the dark & daylight, stop chasing your frigging tail and start focusing on problems that can be fixed.

    • Cannabis was never even a problem in the first place. It was invented after alcohol prohibition to keep the people at the federal bureau of narcotics working, and to tarnish the incredible potential of the hemp plant. All of it was just for greed. Law enforcement got to keep their jobs, and the forestry and textiles industries squashed their competition by making it illegal.

      Something like 90% of the world’s paper comes from trees, yet hemp paper lasts longer, is superior quality, and 1 acre of hemp can produce as much paper as 4 to 10 acres of trees. Also, paper is made from cellulose. Hemp is about 80% cellulose, while trees are about 30% cellulose. All the rest of the material must be removed using toxic chemicals.

      Since cannabis prohibition began in the 20′s and 30′s, we have cut down approximately 50% of our forests. Deforestation is probably the biggest factor in climate change.

      And that is just one of the thousands of ways hemp is useful.

      What type of world are you leaving for your kids if you support cannabis prohibition?

  27. This comment was deleted.

    • Metropika; I really wish you’d just roll a spliff and chill out. Honestly, you are coming across like a 5 year old throwing it’s toys out the pram!

      • Yeah dude. Like chill out bro. Boy if you get any deeper Expat we’ll have to call Maclean’s and get you to do a guest blog on the art of using stupid stoner cliches. They’ll call it….
        Hey: Like where’s my brains gone dopey?

        • We have no idea where your brains have gone. We just know that they are.

    • Did you watch the Union on You Tube yet? Or are you afraid? I watched parts of Marijuana Inc. last night. It seemed pretty pro-cannabis to me. I guess you are saying you side with the DEA thugs in the movie?

      The arguments you use make you sound like a child.

      Oh well, if you didn’t watch it…. ignorance is bliss I guess. For the ignorant anyway.

      Did you know it is possible to overdose on 15-30 beers. On the other hand, to overdose on cannabis, you would have to consume approximately 1500 pounds worth in 20 minutes.

      I don’t think CNN or NBC have an article about that, so I won’t bother trying to provide you with another source.

      • Actually, sorry, I believe that statement isn’t entirely true. It would take approx 1500 lbs in 20 mins to cause a lethal overdose. A substantially lower amount might cause you to be uncomfortable and fall asleep. Maybe someone has more info on that?

        • More stupid stoner arguments from Captain Jimmy. But then what else would you expect from this crowd of self righteous, self congratulatory, pot heads?

          • Holy S$&@!!! You are correct! Your brilliant arguments are so convincing! I now see the errors in my thinking. Metropika for Prime Minister!!

          • Metropika, seeing as you basically have no credible arguments, let me help you out with one from a former president whom I would think should be somewhat of a hero to you… Ronald Reagan.

            “These young people get together, read books, smoke Marijuana and talk.”

            Just a little ammunition to put in your pipe for your next argument with the stupid stoners. Plus, it was said by a former president, so it has to be worth it’s weight in gold!

            Here, I’ll even do a credible response to this post for you to save you time. Blah, blah, blah…. Captain Jimmy….. Marijuana! Bad!…Me… good!….. T-Shirt…. slogan….Stupid stoners!!…. LOL, LMAO, TTYL….

            Ah damn, how can anyone defend an argument against that?

          • Better a pothead than a shithead.

          • Chill out Nite Owl, you’re harshing the buds.

    • Hey Metro you don’t have a clue dude, do some research man. Cannabis oil is curing people of Cancer and other things.. It helps my friend with her Lupus, she is almost 6 ft tall and only was maybe 100lbs at one point. Now she is almost at 115lbs and is doing much better due to Cannabis helping her with her not eating due to her Meds, she is a legal Cannabis user. You really do sound like an Idiot, you should investigate things a little before beaking off like you have been doing. Maybe someone in your life will be dying or sick and in need of something that cures illness. I think that’s what it would take to convince such a closed minded person as you. If I am such a looser pothead, why do I have such a great job, great friends, perfect health and live in a beautiful ski town in the BC mountains, my life is sweet. Oh and just so you know my boss knows I am a stoner, is cool with it…and they pay me well… 15 guys got layed off, most were there longer than I have been, Yet they kept the stoner Machinist.. What do you do for a living Metro…? cop? or are you flipin burgers at Mc d’s.

      • This comment was deleted.

        • wow, you really are an asshole… what a waste of skin you are, My boss kept me because I am the only guy there that can program and run all their multimillion dollar equipment… go flip a burger you jack ass..

          • This comment was deleted.

          • He must be some 8yr old kid that just did the DARE program in school, sure can’t be an adult…if he is, I guess you can’t fix stupid..So many closed minded and brainwashed people in this World, no wonder thing’s are the way they are… just another sheeple..

          • How was your day today? Did cannabis ruin it? Did you by any chance turn into a zombie? Mine was sweet! Most are.

          • Nice, It is good to see happy people that enjoy life. No Cannabis did not ruin it. I think Cannabis may have anti Zombie properties as it cures most anything else.. :) They are building a new solar plant that will power our small mountain town, they call it a sun mine. We had the Engineers in charge of the project tour the shop today, they even let the Stoner Machinist talk to them. In all my years of Machining its only my second “green” environmentally friendly project, so it is exciting to be part of something that will produce clean power for years to come.

          • Sweet! I too lived in a mountain town once upon a time. Great mountain biking, great skiing, ahhhhh fond memories.

        • Apparently you think this is a basketball game or something where the best trash talk wins? Well anyway, even in that department, look at the likes and dislikes. You lost by a landslide. Did your 1 like on most of your posts come from you? Or was it your imaginary friend?

          Oh wait… Your response…. Blah, blah, blah… are you a dude or dudette? (Pause to take time to pat yourself on the back). Blah, blah, blah…. stoners are stupid…. I’m going to make posters and t-shirts, and fix the planet. Just like everyone who drinks alcohol is a drunk, everyone who uses cannabis is not just a stoner, but a “stupid stoner”.

          Done? Now take some time to educate yourself on cannabis by watching Reefer Madness, Cheech and Chong, and Half Baked to get more facts.

      • On a somewhat related note Budpig, I would like to declare that I also love my life. Slight correlation there.

  28. There is much mendacity and injustice perpetrated by the political right. For example, on a per person basis, and factoring for inflation and population growth, Canadian society is wealthier now than it was in the 1970′s (same with the USA). WEALTHIER – not poorer.

    So, why is there no longer any money for improving the quality of life of Canadians and even to consider making the cost of university education equal to how much a student can earn in a summer job the way it used to be? Why no $ to increase pensions? Why push the retirement age up a year or 2 when there is no economic reason?

    SOMEONE, or SOME PEOPLE, have been telling lies for decades and they seem to also be the fearful, right-wing types who want to scare people to conform to their narrow and pauperized view of the world. Following them has led to lousy outcomes.

    The CCP has had its run and conservative Canadians can now say they shared power and can stop whining. Now it’s time to push them aside for the next 30-40 years as it should be.

    • I’m not sure what exactly this has to do with legalization of cannabis.

  29. Since I am losing my Personal production license next year, I am looking for a Cannabis growing job at one of Harpers massive Pot farms, I have a portfolio and want to know If this ridicules Health Canada plan includes first chance at the jobs that will be available as WE are the ones that are already growing quality Cannabis, or will this only be available to the Capitalists that can afford to open up there own business and there Families. Not all of us are abusing our licenses and to Make me a criminal next year for something I am legally able to do this year is the most stupid and irresponsible legislation I have ever seen. Does anyone including the Health Minister think that this will stop illegal growing? as for risk of fire! that they are so concerned about, I am using 110W lighting that uses less power then your dishwasher, I own the House does anyone think I would cut holes in my home for ventilation, this WILL NOT STOP illegal grow-ops, on contrary this will produce more people that are breaking the law these same people that are abiding by the law right now.

    • I voted thumbs up for you, but my fat fingers on my phone actually hit down on accident. Then it kept adding numbers.

    • There’s a great quote out there… Life is a comedy to those who think, and a tragedy to those who feel. If you are looking at the marijuana laws in our country right now, and you aren’t laughing….. You’re f$&@in dumb!

      Joe Rogan

  30. If users of marijuana are not allowed to used public healthcare, then it is okay to legalize that drug. The damage resulting from marijuana is greater than perceived. Public health care funding cannot support the increase in health issues related to marijuana use.

    • “The damage resulting from marijuana is greater than perceived”
      Prove it!

    • http://www.cannabisinternational.org/ This link proves that it is not, Dr. Courtney states that it would reduce health cost worldwide, as it is the number one green leaf for human consumption, and wants the UN to change it from a drug and re classified as a vegetable. check out the vids, please educate yourself, Cannabis cures Cancer and many other things.

    • Then tax it. The taxes could help cover any healthcare. .. real or imagined.

    • nonsense. stupidity, the damage caused by alcohol, and legally prescribed medications all drain health care funding. legalized cannabis would likely bring about a reduction of all the aforementioned.

  31. No matter how many years pass, there will always be some fool who thinks prohibition can work. People will want to alter their minds till the end of time. It makes as much sense as Communism. A free country should be free of any kind of prohibition on any substance.
    Which includes every drug people want to place into their bodies. Hey, it’s not my body,, and they are going to do it regardless of laws against such things. Might as well as a Government profit from such things, since laws against them will never work. Charge a special tax on the hard ones, to pay for Rehab. Programs which the US Government are considering dropping, wouldn’t have to be dropped, as there would be plenty of revenue to pay for them. Makes good sense, so of course the Government won’t do it.

    • I agree the harder the drug, the more the tax. Sounds pretty good to me.

    • I’ll have to do some research when I have a chance to respond to the cancer claim because I know there is a lot of evidence that refutes this. Smoking is definitely the most harmful way on your respiratory system to use cannabis, but people like to do it because it is great pain relief, great for seizures… and it’s pretty easy to control your dosage because the effects come on so fast, you can just stop when you’ve reached the amount you desire for relief. However, you can also vaporize, for a much safer effect on your lungs.

      Preventatively, from what I’ve seen so far, the best way to go is through ingestion. If you haven’t heard of our bodies endocannabinoid system, you should look it up.

      • Yep, hash brownies are the way to go!
        For me, as a teen, smoking pot and hash was a nightmare for my self-confidence. Thanks, Jim


        Andre Fauteux, Editor
        La Maison du 21e siècle magazine
        2955 Domaine-lac-Lucerne
        Ste-Adèle (Qc) Canada J8B 3K9

        450 228-1555

        http://www.maisonsaine.ca
        info@maisonsaine.ca

        Le 2013-06-14 à 14:43, “Disqus” a écrit :

    • Only if you smoke it. Pot can be ingested and inhaled through a vapourizer.

  32. Now, before anyone starts ranting on me that I’m a pothead, I’ve never had pot once in my life, and I really don’t intend to. It’s not my thing. But legalizing marijuana is one of the smartest decisions our government could do. I could go into listing every reason, but just read the comments. They’re already there. Besides, I’d rather have people driving around a little high than drunk or on their cellphones.

    • Thank you for being a rational person who uses their mind. If you don’t want to use it, that’s your free choice of course. Just like it should be another person’s free choice to use it as long as the benefit outweighs the negative and they arent hurting anyone. No victim, no crime!

    • http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/312937/scitech/science/marijuana-may-improve-stamina-rejuvenate-brain-study

      “These discoveries shed new insight on how natural marijuana cannabinoids hold the capacity to literally kill the brain inflammation responsible for causing cognitive decline, neural failure, and brain degeneration. By supplying these receptor sites with cannabinoids, patients may be able to overcome brain conditions like Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, and more, not to mention premature brain aging,” it said.

      If the research is incomplete on this, it’s because the frickin government’s asinine policy of prohibition prevents or controls the research.

      70/80 years of cover ups and lies thanks to prohibition have made such a huge mess, it’s hard for a lot of us to fully understand how difficult it will be to untangle all the knots.

      But it has to be done! Why not start now?

    • Good point, but you would have to get the smokers in the cars first.

    • Check some of my recent quotes. Marijuana Prohibition Refferendum: BC, 2014!!

  33. This is what you get when you draft laws based on ideology, not facts. Our esteemed justice minister, Rob Nicholson, has made it clear he’s not interested in facts – only keeping our streets safe (the fact that he cannot see the glaring contradiction in this position makes it very clear he is NOT qualified to be in charge of an ice-cream stand, never mind the criminal laws of this nation).

    Some interesting comments here; got a kick out of the dood (doodette?) who is going
    to print up the “Users are Losers” t-shirts. Somehow, this suggests to me a life of
    home schooling, and of peering out fearfully out at the world from behind momma’s
    protective skirts… and no real life experience.

    When I was 17, I had a falling out with my parents, left home and moved into a rooming
    house. One of my roommates was a low-level drug dealer – pot and hash. I was pretty naive back then, and had zero experience with drugs. But I will never forget how stunned I was when I first witnessed the parade of professional men and women who showed up at the side door to make purchases. What I saw then, and what I have seen all through my life confirms it; plenty of extremely intelligent, high functioning,
    professional people smoke pot on a regular basis. “Users are Losers” is a stereotypical
    position that only be argued if you share our justice minister’s regard for facts and
    have spent your entire life living under a mushroom.

    One other interesting point…

    I have a good friend who is a police officer, and what he told me about pot was as
    follows…

    If I come into your house and see a couple of joints on your table, I could care less.

    Unless you have a pound or two of the stuff lying around, or you are flagrantly
    breaking the law by smoking the stuff in public and blowing the smoke into my face, I
    am not going to do anything about it.

    Why?

    Because pot smokers are not trouble makers. When we get called out on a domestic
    dispute, what’s the underlying factor? Alcohol. When we get called out to a bar
    brawl, what’s the underlying factor? Alcohol. When we are called out at 2 AM on
    a Friday because some guy has wrapped his car around a telephone pole, what’s the
    underlying factor? Alcohol.

    What are the pot smokers doing? Sitting at home on the couch, waching re-runs of
    “Dr Who” and giggling into a bag of Lay’s potato chips. Or sleeping. They aren’t the ones giving us any grief.

    So while our justice minister and the police chiefs who have to tow the party line
    may go on about the dangers of marijuana, I am pretty sure the front line folks –
    our police force – don’t buy it one bit.

    • AMEN!!

    • Nicholson is a Harper croney. They want to create a privatized prison system and what better way to fill it with mellow, not confrontational inmates than by targeting the pot smokers.

  34. Until there is a way to guarantee that a user is not driving my kids school bus under the influence, flying an airplane under the influence, driving a Greyhound bus under the influence, doing a hip replacement on my Grandmother under the influence, performing high risk explosive demolition under the influence and more I say NO.
    To my knowledge there is no definitive roadside test – I admit I could be wrong – but do you want a user working on your during open heart surgery?
    Canuckleheads are so darned short sighted and entitled at times – if not all the time.
    No victim? Hardly.

    • Short sighted?????? Prohibition is destroying the planet! Since prohibition began in the 20′s/30′s we’ve cut down about 50% of the earth’s trees! Deforestation is the number 1 culprit in climate change. Eventually, there will be no planet left for your kids or grand kids to be driven to school on!
      Research cannabis prohibition, and the thousands of uses of hemp. It grows like a weed, can be used for clothes, paper, textiles, food, building materials… the list goes on and on. Don’t even get me started on the medical side… it may cure your kids illness, or the Alzheimer’s disease you may develop.

      You seem to think people who use cannabis are some sort of mindless zombies with no self control. This ridiculous assumption is straight out of Reefer Madness propaganda.

      http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/16798-top-ten-reasons-to-legalize-marijuana-now

      I have kids too! By your argument, alcohol use should be eradicated far before cannabis. Yes cannabis does impair you, but not nearly as bad as alcohol.

      And they are developing tests as we speak to figure out THC in the blood. You think with technology these days they can’t develop a test for a safe level of THC in a person?

      • To back up my claim about cannabis curing various brain diseases…
        And medical studies like these on cannabis’ positive effects on the brain, and other disorders are coming out MORE AND MORE! And prohibition causes the govt to severely limit the research that can be done on cannabis.

        An article on Collective Evolution said the study suggested the activation of the brain’s cannabinoid system triggers the release of antioxidants, which act as a cleansing mechanism.
        Such a process may remove damaged cells and improve the efficiency of mitochondria, the energy source that powers cells, it added.

        New insights
        “These discoveries shed new insight on how natural marijuana cannabinoids hold the capacity to literally kill the brain inflammation responsible for causing cognitive decline, neural failure, and brain degeneration. By supplying these receptor sites with cannabinoids, patients may be able to overcome brain conditions like Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, and more, not to mention premature brain aging,” it said.

        Does that sound like a substance you should fear more than alcohol?

          • You missed my point smart guy – you smoking dope you fool?

            Where is the test – and yes aclohol can be abused – I ask again how do you ensure the Doc doing the bypass is straight?

            In the meantime – anyone flying airplanes with me and I suspect – I would turn in – in a heart beat – but how to tell?

            Quite frankly I think we should just shoot anyone caught dealing or using – solves the problem immediately.

            Think it is a bit harsh?

            Maybe not – stops the problem pretty quick. That is the solution for many crimes in some parts of the world – even minor ones by our standards

            I am betting we would need to start with you. LOL

            You – user and fool – all wrapped up in one package. LOL

            As my neighbour grows about 20 acres of hemp – your comments are completely out of whack – it is completely different from the stuff you smoke.

            You are probably too wasted to realize that.

            Bet your kids are proud of you too.

            Byeee…..

          • 9. Prohibition diverts billions from the needy. More than 50 government agencies feed at the drug war trough. Food stamps and other social programs are being slashed while billions are spent trying to stop adults from using marijuana.

            Mossonrocks, please comment on this.

          • Would it be fair of me to assume that if you drink alcohol, you beat your wife and kids? Of course not. I’m a rational person. Not a fear monger.

          • Seeing as you didn’t believe my source, here are 1000+ more pages of links to studies on the benefits of cannabis. Are these people all lying? If so, that’s pretty low, misleading sick people. Though if they are in fact telling the truth, doesn’t that mean the other side is misleading sick people? Hmmm

            http://www.clear-uk.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/Grannys-List-January-2013.pdf

          • I think maybe oppressing is a better choice of words than misleading.

    • Entered in error

      • I wish you could somehow observe a day of my life. You would eat those words about my kids not being proud of me so fast! How dare you attack another father who loves his kids more than anything on earth with such an asinine statement! I hate beating my own drum, but you force me to. I’ve actually had at least 4 people in the past six months tell me either that I was the greatest dad, or that I had the luckiest kids. 2 of the people who told me that were kids 11-13, 2 were parents. I’d rather let my actions speak for me over what I choose to put in my body. That is the lowest of low blows. What a dickhead thing to say.

        I know hemp is legal in Canada, but it is still restricted how many licenses they give out and it is illegal in the US. Prohibition destroyed the potential for hemp to demonstrate it’s 1000′s of uses (paper, fuel, biodegradable plastic).

        Of course a pilot, a surgeon…. shouldn’t do their job under the influence. That’s just common sense. But we are adults, not children. What makes you think someone who uses cannabis can’t control themselves just like someone who drinks alcohol? You are seriously suffering from a bad case of reefer madness induced fear.

        The rest of what you said is just too dumb to respond to.

      • http://the420times.com/2013/02/tv-station-tests-stoned-drivers-shows-uselessness-of-testing-thc-levels-in-blood/

        She’s driving 7x over the legal limit for cannabis and the driving instructor still classified her driving as OK!

        Imagine someone driving 7x over the legal limit for alcohol?

        I agree, people should not drive stoned. But why do so many people think legalized marijuana will mean exponentially more traffic accidents?

        The smart one’s won’t get in the car, and the dummies that do are still driving a hell of a lot better than the morons driving on alcohol.

        Mossonrocks: please respond to this, and please refrain from name calling.

    • Cannabis prohibition is based on racism.

      “…the primary reason to outlaw marijuana is its effect on the degenerate races.”
      ~Harry J. Anslinger

      “marijuana is an addictive drug which produces in its users insanity, criminality, and death.”
      ~Harry J. Anslinger

      “Reefer makes darkies think they’re as good as white men.”
      ~Harry J. Anslinger

      “You smoke a joint and you’re likely to kill your brother.”
      ~Harry J. Anslinger

      “There are 100,000 total marijuana smokers in the US, and most are Negroes, Hispanics, Filipinos and entertainers. Their Satanic music, jazz and swing, result from marijuana usage. This marijuana causes white women to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers and any others.”

      ~Harry Anslinger, 1937 testimony to Congress in support of the marijuana Tax Act

      • And finally…

        “In any civilized society, it is every citizen’s responsibility to obey just laws. But at the same time, it is every citizen’s responsibility to disobey unjust laws.”
        ~Martin Luther King Jr.

    • The governments ignore all medical studies including their own.

      “The commission has come to the conclusion that the moderate use of hemp drugs is practically attended by no evil results at all. … …moderate use of hemp… appears to cause no appreciable physical injury of any kind,… no injurious effects on the mind… [and] no moral injury whatever.”

      ~Indian Hemp Drugs Commission, 1894

      “Having reviewed all the material available to us we find ourselves in agreement with the conclusion reached by the Indian Hemp Drugs Commission appointed by the Government of India (1893-94) and the New York Mayor’s Committee (1944 – LaGuardia)that the long-term consumption of cannabis in moderate doses has no harmful effects” “the long-asserted dangers of cannabis are exaggerated and that the related law is socially damaging, if not unworkable”

      ~1968 UK ROYAL COMMISSION, THE WOOTTON REPORT

      “Cannabis is remarkably safe. Although not harmless, it is surely less toxic than most of the conventional medicines it could replace if it were legally available. Despite its use by millions of people over thousands of years, cannabis has never caused an overdose death.”

      ~Testimony of Professor Lester Grinspoon, M.D., Associate Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, before the Crime Subcommittee of the Judiciary Committee, U.S. House of Representatives, Washington, D.C., October 1, 1997

      “marijuana is beneficial to many patients”

      ~Jocelyn Elders, USA Surgeon General

      “Users in our matched-pair sample smoked marijuana in addition to as many tobacco cigarettes as did their matched non-using pairs. Yet their small airways were, if anything, a bit healthier than their matches. We must tentatively conclude either that marijuana has no harmful effect on such passages or that it actually offers some slight protection against harmful effects of tobacco smoke”
      ~Cannabis in Costa Rica: A Study of Chronic marijuana Use; Institute of Human Issues

      “The use of marijuana does not lead to morphine or heroin or cocaine addiction and no effort is made to create a market for these narcotics by stimulating the practice of marijuana smoking”
      ~The LaGardia sub-committee of New York 1944

      “Most marijuana users do not go on to use other drugs.”
      ~”marijuana: Facts for Teens.” U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Washington, D.C. 1995, p.10..”

    • You are worried about intoxicated cannabis zombies driving your kids to school, or performing a triple by pass on your grandfather.

      Here is my response:

      “Simulated driving scores for subjects experiencing a normal social “high” and the same subjects under control conditions are not significantly different. However, there are significantly more errors for alcohol intoxicated than for control subjects”
      ~Crancer Study, Washington Department of Motor Vehicles

      “THC’s adverse effects on driving performance appear relatively small”
      ~U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (DOT HS 808 07, Final Report, November 1993)

      “Compared to alcohol, which makes people take more risks on the road, marijuana made drivers slow down and drive more carefully…. Cannabis is good for driving skills, as people tend to overcompensate for a perceived impairment.”
      ~Professor Olaf Drummer, a forensic scientist the Royal College of Surgeons in Melbourne in 1996

      Does that begin to address any of your concerns?

    • you obviously don`t know how the transportation industry works. Almost ALL companies now do a criminal record check and a drug test. Most are 5 panel but some look for alcohol abuse as well. Just like alcohol, NO ONE wants their drivers under the influence. Sure alcohol is legal, but if you are pounding back a 24 pack every night, you are not going to get a job, just like if you test positive for THC. Companies do not and will continue to not hire users regardless of what is legal or illegal.

  35. The way this poll is worded is obviously designed to get a “yes” majority. Shame on you Maclean. THIS POLL IS SIMPLY STUPID.

  36. “Two of my favorite things are sitting on my front porch smoking a pipe of sweet hemp, and playing my Hohner harmonica.”

    Abraham Lincoln

    • People who smoke pot are unsuccessful losers!

      “I have always loved marijuana. It has been a source of joy and comfort to me for many years. And I still think of it as a basic staple of life, along with beer and ice and grapefruits – and millions of Americans agree with me.”

      Dr. Hunter S Thompson

      “NBA players do smoke marijuana…smoking weed in the off-season sometimes is my personal choice and personal opinion…I don’t think that’s stopping me from doing my job”

      Josh Howard

      “Bring the brothers home, and sisters home now. Legalize marijuana and take all that money and invest it in teachers and in education. You will see a transformation in America.”

      Carlos Santana

      • …after being arrested on the 19th of July 2000 for driving under the influence of marijuana – “I use it to control the nausea which comes with the headaches”

        Kareem Abdul Jabbar

        “I’ve done coke, heroin, ecstasy, LSD, everything, but the one that had the worst effect for me was pot. I felt silly and giggly and I hate feeling like that”

        Angelina Jolie

        “Marijuana? It’s harmless really, unless you fashion it into a club and beat somebody over the head with it”

        Bill Bailey

        • “Here’s the people who have a problem with pot, are you ready… LOSERS! If pot f$cked up your life, it’s just because pot got there first. It could have been cheeseburgers, it could have been scratch tickets, the horse races….a plant, that makes you look at the world in a more humble way, it makes food taste better, it makes you want to love your friends more, it makes sex better…. and if that f$cks up your life… You are an idiot! It’s that simple.”

          Joe Rogan

          “The illegality of cannabis is outrageous, an impediment to full utilization of a drug which helps produce the serenity and insight, sensitivity and fellowship so desperately needed in this increasingly mad and dangerous world”

          Carl Sagan

          • “Marijuana really expands your mind”

            Sarah Silverman

            “I’m not going to deny the fact that I’ve tried pot. I hated it.”

            Lindsay Lohan

            “It’s estimated that over one trillion have been spent on fighting this un-winnable battle. The irony is that a regulated market – one that is tightly controlled, one that would offer support not prison to those with drug problems – would cost tax payers much less money.”

            Richard Branson

          • “Penalties against possession of a drug should not be more damaging to an individual than the use of the drug itself, and where they are they should be changed”

            Former President Jimmy Carter

            “We did not view marijuana as a significant health problem–as it was not….Nobody dies from marijuana. marijuana smoking, in fact, if one wants to be honest, is a source of pleasure and amusement to countless millions of people in America, and it continues to be that way”

            Peter Bourne (President Carter’s Drug Czar)

          • “Having reviewed all the material available to us we find ourselves in agreement with the conclusion reached by the Indian Hemp Drugs Commission appointed by the Government of India (1893-94) and the New York Mayor’s Committee (1944 – LaGuardia)that the long-term consumption of cannabis in moderate doses has no harmful effects”
            “the long-asserted dangers of cannabis are exaggerated and that the related law is socially damaging, if not unworkable”

            The Wootton Report ( 1968 UK Royal Commission )

          • “Make the most of the Indian Hemp Seed and sow it everywhere”

            George Washington -1st US President

            Back in those days, hemp meant all forms of cannabis.

          • “I now have absolute proof that smoking even one marijuana cigarette is equal in brain damage to being on Bikini Island during an H-bomb blast” – Ronald Reagan

            Did we mention he was the one that declared the first major War on Drugs? The same exact War on Drugs that’s costing and losing us $23,996,032,192+ a YEAR!!

  37. It’s time we REPEALED prohibition. For everyone. Everywhere.

    “More of the same” isn’t working. It never did. It never will.

    IT CAN’T…because it was never DESIGNED to.

    Not “decriminalization.” Not “legalization.” Not “tax and regulate.” Not “regulate like _______.” Not “government controlled.” Not “corporate monopoly controlled.” Not even “for approved and specifically licensed medicinal use only.”

    ALL of those are just different forms of “specifically delineated” PROHIBITION.

    If you want it over, you have to REPEAL it.

    Unless you really WANT “more of the same?”

    http://overgrow.ning.com/profiles/blogs/the-fallacy-of-the-legalize-and-tax-cannabis-initiatives

  38. “This is more phony war than calamity, waged by a government determined to save us from a cannabis crisis of its own making. To have the minister imply a moral equivalency between child sexual abuse and carrying a couple of joints in your jeans underscores the emotionalism clouding the issue: reason enough to look at why
    marijuana is illegal in the first place.” – excerpt from the article.

    Truer words were never more clearly said and more eagerly anticipated. Why is cannabis illegal in the first place?

    Unfortunately, the article offers nothing to that end; it simply regurgitates the Senate Reports conclusion, that, “Early drug legislation was largely based on a moral panic, racist sentiment and a notorious absence of debate.” then it simply moves on.

    If anything, all this article reinforces is the idea that the Senates’ conclusion is where it ends. And that is hardly the case. Nowhere does the article even begin to dissect the Senate’s statement or question how that “notorious absence of debate” came about.

    But the fact is, there is an abundance of material that contradicts the very premise that a notorious absence of debate occurred; it is called Hansard.

    Debate occurred. It began on March 14, 1923 on page 1136 (Hansard) . Under
    the title, “Narcotic Drugs Act Amendment Bill”: “Hon. H.S. Béland (Minister of Health) moved for leave to introduce Bill No. 72 to amend the Narcotic Drugs Act. He said, “The purpose of this bill is principally to consolidate previous legislation for the
    suppression of the traffic in narcotic drugs. Legislation was first enacted in 1908, and subsequent legislation was enacted in 1911,1919, 1920, 1921 and 1922. At present the legislation is somewhat confusing, and the purpose of this legislation is to make the interpretation of these different statutes clearer and easier for those charged with the administration of this law. . . .”

    So we know that (a) debate did occur, (b) that the purpose of the bill was to consolidate previous legislation for the suppression of the traffic in narcotic drugs. But what the article also avoids mentioning, regardless of whether it was an oversight or deliberately omitted, is the controversial reference that gave life to cannabis
    prohibition in Canada – “there is a new drug in the schedule”. That’s according to Hansard on page 2124.

    (From House of Commons, Debates, 1923, p. 2124: House of Commons, Debates 1923, P. 2124;
    From the chair: “On the schedule.”
    “Mr. Béland: There is a new drug in the Schedule.
    “Bill Reported, read the third time and passed.”)

    We know that (a) debate did occur, (b) that the purpose of the bill was to consolidate previous legislation for the suppression of the traffic in narcotic drugs, and (c) that Liberal Minister H.S. Béland, in relation to the mention of consolidating previous legislation for the suppression of the traffic in narcotic drugs he merely said “there is a new drug in the schedule”.

    Now a number of questions arise out of that. 1. (the most obvious) how did “there is a new drug in the schedule” end up as cannabis? 2. Which previous legislation was being consolidated?

    According to Panic and Indifference ( which incidentally is considered a major
    contribution in the field of the sociology of law) Giffen, Lambert, and Endicott tells us, “Interestingly enough, a draft of the 1923 Bill found in one file made no mention of marijuana on the schedule. The file following this contained several carbon copies of the draft. One of these had obviously been put into the typewriter again, and ”Cannabis Indica (Indian Hemp) or Hasheesh” had been added to the schedule. Whoever added those words was apparently under the impression that hasheesh was simply a synonym for cannabis indica.”

    So now we know why the addition of cannabis doesn’t appear in Hansard and why “there is a new drug in the schedule” does.

    But that doesn’t tell anyone anything about which previous legislation was being consolidated. To that end, Panic and Indifference, again provides the answer. The legislation in question is the Propriety or Patented Medicines Act of 1908 (page 51 – (28c,s.7(c) – page 100) where it (cannabis) was commonly referred to as Indian hemp.

    So through the process of deduction, we know now that cannabis was once regulated as medicine that was consolidated from previous legislation for the suppression of the traffic in narcotic drugs. It also explains why Béland chose to utter “there is a new drug in the schedule” instead of mentioning cannabis or Indian hemp. The only question that remains is ”why would Béland not want to acknowledge the medicinal (aspects), especially in light of the intent – for the suppression of the traffic in narcotic drugs.

    The end result denied any medicinal knowledge or value of cannabis and indiscriminately criminalized all use right up to and including the Parker Jr. ruling.

    The aforementioned, in a nutshell, provides adequate detail demonstrating the root cause for the state of affairs that affects all today whether they have an affinity with cannabis for whatever reason or not. It also demonstrates that the government knowingly did this and that in spite of the risk of being found in contempt (of the courts) has actively worked at maintaining its original position.

    The difficulty for me in all this is figuring out MACLEAN’S actual position on this because, after all, MACLEANS did play a major role as a benefactor in the circulation of Emily Murphy’s (aka Janey Canuck) filth.

  39. I was once a passenger in my older brothers car when he asked me do you want to go to the states? I replied sure sounds like fun. Well we where refused because he had a record for being in possession of half a joint of marijuana years ago, this was over 20 years ago. I recently was going to the states with my wife and was asked if I had ever been refused into the states? Yes I replied so I was sent to a different desk at the airport ware I was told I can not enter the states because I was charged in a Buffalo court for adding and abeading a criminal into the U.S.A. I have never gotten into trouble in my life with the law I told them, they told me I was charged for trying to bring my brother (a criminal) into the states. I was never sent to court for this? they then told me I was absent at the time of the hearing. Thanks to Marijuana prohibition hear in Canada I am now a criminal in the states, yet I do not smoke and have never been busted for anything in Canada. My brother is now 50 years old and his only record is this half a joint and I can never go to the states. Thanks Marijuana Prohibition keep up the good work!!!!

    • Totally Ridiculous!

  40. “In any civilized society, it is every citizen’s responsibility to obey just laws. But at the same time, it is every citizen’s responsibility to disobey unjust laws.”
    ~Martin Luther King Jr.

  41. Harper’s Conservative Government is criminal

  42. ahahaha “weed is good that is all”

  43. I wish you dumbass politicians would stop debating and legalize it now, with legal marijuana there is no need for all the money we waste on creating all these bullshit medicines and pills that do nothing but make some asshole rich and cause way more harm than good. Fuck presciption drugs there bullshit

  44. You guys smoking pot are CRAZY to say the least. You all have no idea how this stuff is going to affect you later in life. As for you Captain Jim, believe me, Pot is extremely addictive. You can believe and keep telling yourself that its okay to sit around and get high everyday but its the same as being an ALCOHOLIC. I have a friend in B.C. that got so addicted as a young mother that her short term memory is GONE because of smoking this junk. Do your really believe that toking up chemicals from weed just like cigarettes can possibly be GOOD for you? If you do believe this then you have seriously been smoking too much of this stuff and have killed off too many brain cells already.

    • doesn’t matter if it’s good for you or not… the point is the government should let citizens be responsible for what they put in their bodies.

  45. Have you guys seen David Suzuki documentary called the” Down side of high”? Its really good and any of you teens and 20 somethings that are smoking this stuff should really watch this show. Did you know that teens under the age of 18 years can develop schizophrenia from smoking pot? David Suzuki is a very intelligent man, he has been around for years and I think that he really knows his stuff.

    • They have not proven that smoking cannabis causes schizophrenia. HOWEVER they did show that people who are ALREADY genetically predisposed, can have their latent tendencies increase. BUT that is only if you are already genetically predisposed for schizophrenia. This means that, yes people who are genetically predisposed shouldn’t smoke it, BUT it does NOT mean that every teen who smokes is going to become a schizophrenic. If that were the case, there would be MANY more schizophrenics out there.

  46. it is about time they are doing this. It does have many good benefits, there is a lot of good with the bad, and yes agree with Captain Jim…when is the last time you seen a violent pot head? Marijuana is nothing like other drugs! crack, heroin, alcohol!! I have seen it help many, many people (being a care aid) including my mother who was in a great deal of pain!! and my self who battled a harsh cancer many years back! for others who use it to help them sleep, and the list can go on, not everyone abuses it and uses it in a bad way!! so no you cannot put this with other drugs what so ever, this harmless compared to other drugs! Yes there will be better laws to stiffen people who abuse the issue of using this, harder fines driving under the influence! it all can be worked out…and the revenue made off all of this can go to good uses…
    so this is good thing at last!!!!!

  47. What should we do to legalize marijuana in Canada?

  48. Excellent article – thanks! We need to change the laws, so that we can deal openly and honestly with the use and abuse of marijuana in Canada. It’s the only way to reduce pot smoking among teens and the general population.

  49. This was a well written article. However, I am anything, but convinced.

    Using marijuana is stupid and reckless without any real benefits. Why should it be acceptable in this country? What we really need is a better way to monitor illegal drugs that does not involve jail time.

    As a young adult working on her undergraduate degree for whom high school and even recent parties are not a distant memory if I choose to get drunk on alcohol or smoke pot I would still be making a bad decision (in which I don’t even have to choose one) regardless of what I decided. Using a drug for recreation is just a pointless waste of a perfectly good brain. I am completely biased here. I have ADHD and I depend on getting my dose of biphentin in order to function properly. I am dependent on a drug. Do you know what I would give to not be? Unfortunately when I tried to not take my medication in high school my average dropped by 20% so I feel like I’m stuck with it. Its this outlook that makes me so ignorant as to why anyone would want to try it in the first place. Marijuana, unlike my medication can bring nothing, but harm. It distorts your perceptions, creates anxiety, depression, impairs memory, coordination, and can even create hallucinations in high amounts. Oh and lets not forget that it puts you at risk of schizophrenia. Yup, why anyone wants it in the first place is truly beyond me. It’s completely irresponsible. I think allowing it in our society is equally irresponsible. Using the question of if the war on drugs has failed or not to gauge interest in legalizing marijuana is completely biasing the response. I think the war on drugs has failed too, but I think I’ve made it quite clear I am not interested in legalizing marijuana. If we legalize it we are saying that using it is acceptable. Well, its not. There was an increase in usage when debates about legalizing it began. I wonder if people were starting to wonder if it was acceptable.

    I see the harm it does. When you become addicted and try to stop the withdrawal symptoms can last for a decade. It doesn’t matter if its a student, a child, or a successful business executive. The drug doesn’t care who you are and one day it will bite you. As nice as harm reduction sounds, there are better uses for my tax dollars then trying to compensate for someone else’s (stupid) decision.

    There is no loss to not using marijuana. But using it can cost a brain and a lifetime of potential. I’d sooner legalize euthanasia to put these people out of their misery.

    • Disagree… I would rather see a pothead on the couch than a drunk in a car.

    • TROLL. Your name says it all, no one could be so ignorant. Especially a university student. Unless you have no friends. Which apparently you don’t, since going to social gatherings is a recent memory for you.

      or maybe… you’re a troll from MACLEAN’S! hired to say retarded things and boost the disqus discussions, thereby creating FREE content for their website?

    • Actually it is only increases the symptoms of people who are ALREADY genetically predisposed for it, it does NOT cause schizophrenia!
      And you say that “marijuana can bring nothing but harm”? Tell that to the thousands of people taking it as MEDICINE!

      It’s funny that you have ADHD, as that is one of the ailments that cannabis use has been shown to help, as well as chronic pain, epilepsy, anxiety disorders, depression, cancer. I could go on, but seeing as how you’re so smart, you might learn more if you actually do some research on your own.

      And mind telling me how you came to the conclusion that “When you become addicted and try to stop the withdrawal symptoms can last for a decade.”?? This is BEYOND false! While there are people who have been using heavily for decades, medicinally or recreationally, that may have SOME physical withdrawal symptoms, they will by NO means last decades!
      PLEASE do some research before spouting lies!

  50. Over 50% of the Canadian public supports legalization, does anyone still believe that the Government acts on behalf of the interest of the Canadian public or in their own interest? The true reason it’s illegal is not because it gives you a buzz but rather how much big business stands to lose if hemp were legal. Plastic, paper, food, oil, rope, clothes, medicines and so forth all can be produced out of hemp which means lots of potential money loss for chemical, pulp and paper, medical and other companies. Research the Library of Congress and you’ll find out that in the 40s, the US government was instructing it’s farmers to produce 350,000 plants for the war effort because of how versatile the plant’s uses are. The start of the smear campaign began with DuPoint and his cronies using the term marijuana in place of hemp and snuck a bill through a committee which aren’t subject to debate. People need to educate themselves instead of repeating known and proven bogus facts about the “so-called” dangers of marijuana. Movies like Reefer Madness were mere propaganda tools to push the public to support the criminalization of it while big business profit because of it at the expense of the environment and the everyday public. Much like how discrimination and racism is wrong and cannot be defended nor justified is essentially the same place where those who support the continued criminalization of marijuana reside.

  51. Well there goes Harper`s BC vote! This was shared on the Liberal Party of Canada`s page. Awesome!

  52. “Early drug legislation was largely based on a moral panic, racist sentiment and a notorious absence of debate.”

    Wow we’ve sure come a long way!?!

  53. It is essentially a no-brainer to legalize this stuff. You could almost compare this debate to that of Gay marriage: people argue agianst it as if its going to have some hige impact on Their lives, which is nonsense. If there are society-threatening risks to users (which studies suggest the contrary), that thats the users business – no ones gonna shove a joint in your mouth the moment its legalized

    Mind you, while it would be better to not do any substances at all (inhaling smoke into your lungs, regardless of what kind, cant be the greatest thing for your health), pot is a far less threatening vice to the populace than alcohol or tobacco. People have been finding ways to alter their state of mind for thousands of years, regardless of legality. Its time the goverment and critics realized how commonplace pot is nowadays and how much good, rather than bad can come from legalization

    Ps. Im a 19 year old, middle class male university student, whos smoked weesd maybe 20 times in my life. Ive had friends both totally dependant on it and
    others, like myself, still the same, motivated, happy person. Call a cop, haters :P

  54. I was happy to read this and found a few parts that I never knew about cannabis. I still don’t see why government should regulate cannabis as if government doesn’t make enough profit off every business that buy or sells or makes a product for public. The fact is changing the law would save huge amounts of time and money for the government alone. The government does not need to add regulations that increase the cost of cannabis in order to make money because that is what income tax does for all the people rich or poor. The government would of course like to make it harder and way more costly and even only allow private companies to produce and retail cannabis but it’s not in any way the best interest of public or children. The fact is that government used lies and false information to make cannabis illegal and new evidence has shown cannabis is very helpful for many medical illnesses and the laws need to be over turned because of those two very important reasons alone.

  55. now that we have licences to possess and grow marihuana for health reasons issued by the Harper Government is that just another way to catch all the pot growers and smokers
    when they decide to cancel everything and revert back to charging people. mmm

  56. Fact is cigarettes, alcohol, and fast food all have direct links to death, yet they are all legal. But marijuana on the other hand has caused death not by the plant itself, but by its prohibition. The conservatives will rally saying “were giving drugs to kids”, when kids have access because drug dealers do not care about the age of people. Furthermore, kids will be kids they more you say no the more they want to do it. Also parents who shame weed are the same parents who feed their children fast food regularly. FAST FOOD IS THE REAL KILLER HERE PEOPLE. it is addictive, and causes an abundance of health issues (no different from alcohol and cigarettes). Make it 19+, open dispensaries, and the price should be as close to street value as possible. Boost the penalties for street dealers, so people are inclined to buy from dispensaries. Eventually street dope dealers will die off, or move on to another drug to deal.

  57. Its a choice and a choice majority of people of this country have made or agree upon. Weather Canada is a democratic country or not has huge room for discussion but if we all believe or like to believe it is then as a democratic country the government is chosen by majority of people to do as majority wishes. Its there for people not to boss them around against their will. They sure must legalize Marijuana.

  58. Don’t worry bout these trolls acting like they’re smart just do your own research and learn to read between the lines and know where the writer’s head is at because most research is bias against cannabis but even in bias reports sometimes they slip up and tell the truth the SCARY truth that no1 wants you to know that cannabis not only heals your body it heals your mind. It makes you stop thinking with this slave mentality. It may not be right for everybody though I’ve heard stories about people going crazy but one already had a chemical in his brain and the other guy is on some kind of happy pills. But yeah I don’t kno why atomic walrus is giving alcahol statistics, he said since cannabis is illigal we don’t have enough stats on weed. Listen legal or illigal more than half of Canada smokes weed there have been many studies and reports that progressively showed more and more positive effects of cannabis despite the fact that they were looking for negative effects and couldn’t find any and when the reports come back they are thrown out because the results don’t go coincide with the political agenda. Most of these fags posting shit like fat walrus and metrosexual pikachu are paid or are part of the system trying to mislead you and guide public opinion to align it with the political agenda. Anywase just read between the lines look at how people act before you take their word for something and look at history. History is our greatest teacher and if we don’t learn from the past the mistakes of our ancestors will be repeated. Sorry for such a long post. Chemical imbalance *

  59. Now, if Harper’s Conservatives advocated legal marijuana, how would the next election look? He won’t lose support from the West, where most of the stuff is a cash crop. Would Trudeau even get a second look?

    As anyone can see, marijuana hasn’t hurt Rob Ford. There’s nothing wrong with that guy. And Margaret Trudeau, in a National Post Article, acknowledged her problem coping with bipolar disorder while addicted to pot. Here is a Macleans piece, to avoid offending the editors here. (http://www2.macleans.ca/2010/10/08/just-margaret/) The stuff hasn’t harmed Justin, who says he has only used it “5 or 6 times in his life.”

    No, if Harper was really the sharpest blade in the drawer, he would campaign for legalisation in the next election. He would do, what Trudeau hasn’t done, and set out a full explanation of how the Conservatives would regulate weed. And why not legalise euthenasia and prostitution in the same omnibus bill?

    • Harper has damaged Canada and no type of legislation will stop Canadians from throwing the bum out of office

      • yada yada yada…

  60. Legal weed might not be the cash cow most people expect, because over-production of the product will depress prices and reduce profit potential. This means that the weed market would have to be controlled, as well as regulated.

    How would that be accomplished? Government could do with weed what it has done with booze. Sell the stuff through LCBO style outlets or drug stores. Get your weed at Walmart. But people who advocate legalisation, imagine independent retailers because these are the same advocates who resent government control of booze. Don’t underestimate the marketing zeal of cigarette companies, who are ready to go as soon as the pen drops. The notion of corner stores, as numerous and banal as Tim Horton’s doughnuts, is most improbable.

    However the method of distribution, legal weed will require careful market control to keep the price of the product at a level where producers make a profit, by limiting supply. To do that, growers would be licensed. And that means that growers, who cannot have a license, will participate in a black market. One enforcement problem is replaced by another enforcement problem. And you can bet the big players, making most of the profits, will want their marijuana laws enforced, really enforced, not like they are now.

    I think, when we look back a decade from today, we will wish we had left legal marijuana illegal. The notion that you can scratch illegal marijuana out of the Criminal Code, without stringent regulation, is absurd. There would be significant loss of personal freedom that most advocates of legal pot would resent; mandatory blood tests, on demand without warrant would prove necessary, and internet monitoring for black market sales would become ‘normal’, and warrantless search and seizure of residences would be necessary to control the black marketers who will routinely exceed their monthly ‘personal use limits.’

    Yup, there will come a time when people will speculate about why we let the bear out of the cage.

    • Indeed….look at illegal tobacco being smuggled across the St. Lawrence by certain groups for distribution to all parts of Ontario.

      Proponents of the “legalize and tax” idea need look no further than to those who buy illegally imported cigarettes to defeat the taxes.

  61. Call me crazy but I’ve based my position not on the studies (there’s a study to support any argument you have) but on my experiences. It’s true that most people who smoke weed don’t really harm anyone…but themselves. Therein lies my issue with weed. I’ve seen enough of my friends smoke themselves into being complete idiots (the “R” word is now outside of PC guidelines). Also, and this knowing a few people who were/are dealers, the weed of today is not your grandpa’s weed. Just like alcohol, consume enough and you become completely wrecked. But I think we’re all okay with that because emphasizing being in control of one’s faculties is also out of vogue. I’m also reflexively suspicious of most liberal policies advocated by the well-off–did anyone notice recently Kathy Wynnes education minister blaming teachers for kids sucking at math. Fifty years after JT legalizes the stuff there’ll be MAWS (Mothers Against Weed Smoking) but we’ll all be so high that we’ll forgot how it started. Before you go off on alcohol vs weed arguments…I’ve heard them before. Also, the standard proof for alcohol is around 40 percent; it’s a controlled substance. There is no QA process for growing and producing weed. And no, I don’t want my tax dollars creating a QA process just to prove you right.

  62. From the article: “In fact, I would go so far as to say that marijuana use often helps to tamp down tensions where they otherwise might exist”.

    Try to imagine a cannabis-fuelled riot after an NHL playoff game. It’s just not going to happen.

  63. Clearly Harper and Redford are back in time around the 1940s during Reefer Madness era . They believe that ridiculous film and don’t deserve the right to lead Canada . Save Canada and vote out Cavemen (Conservatives )

  64. And ALL this is only pertaining to the 0.001% of Cannabis’ beneficial applications to both mankind as well as the environment we are infesting. It MUST be understood that Cannabis offers a nearly COMPLETE negation of our Carbon Footprint AS WELL almost COMPLETE SUSTAINABILITY – Yup! All from Nature’s own FREE GIFT! Fancy that!

    So as for taxing & all the other pipedream alternatives, this is again an all-natural plant. Please check the Constitution – oh, and while your at it, the definition of a patent.. in the list of examples of items one ‘can not’ patent, the FIRST thing is a plant!

    US Patent 6630507 is truly a stunning enigma – or a cunning stunt.. depending on which light one holds up to it.

  65. How can we not learn from history – prohibition is not the answer. Look at the changes in criminal element that came in the US after legalizing the sale of alcohol (a more dangerous substance then marijuana). Conservatives should see the writing on the wall and not just step to the plate – but go one further, propose full legalization control, sale and taxation of it. Think of the increase revenue, decrease in crime and violence – and we would see a significant increase in tourism. The world would see us as the innovative thought leader we are.

  66. How can we not learn from history – prohibition is not the answer. Look at the changes in criminal element that came in the US after legalizing the sale of alcohol (a more dangerous substance then marijuana). Conservatives should see the writing on the wall and not just step to the plate – but go one further, propose full legalization control, sale and taxation of it. Think of the increase revenue, decrease in crime and violence – and we would see a significant increase in tourism. The world would see us as the innovative thought leader we are.How can we not learn from history – prohibition is not the answer. Look at the changes in criminal element that came in the US after legalizing the sale of alcohol (a more dangerous substance then marijuana). Conservatives should see the writing on the wall and not just step to the plate – but go one further, propose full legalization control, sale and taxation of it. Think of the increase revenue, decrease in crime and violence – and we would see a significant increase in tourism. The world would see us as the innovative thought leader we are.

  67. Sorry about the double post, unlike some of the other forums this one appears to have some significant lag to it.
    Simply put – after 30 years of voting conservative – unless they get smart about this one subject I will be voting liberal. It is time for a change but more importantly, it shows how out of touch the party is to what the majority of Canadians are saying.

  68. When I get arrested I am going to break down crying in court claiming that I would not have broken the law if I did not use the harmful gateway drug ethanol. I am going to say I became horribly addicted to Marijuana because I was given ethanol as a recreational drug and I made a bad decision under the influence of ethanol. Lets start prohibition of ethanol for a better world.

  69. Honestly, how many people do you know who have died from marijuana use compared to a lot of the other drugs. None that I have EVER heard of. Stop wasting peoples taxes and just legalize it with restrictions. People say its a gateway drug, well guess what I smoke it and have NEVER touched anything harsher.

  70. It is too bad so many journalists and lay people never actually take the time to read evidence-based research on marijuana. If there were to do so, they might be surprised to find that this drug: causes lung cancer, causes psychotic episodes. may cause onset schizophrenia, de-motivates , is linked with poor academic success, impairs judgement,
    alters the brain, and takes week to months for THC levels to drop, and a year for the brain to (almost) return to normal. In my work as behavior specialist, I wish this drug would disappear. It creates so much hardship, especially for children, and I witness this hardship every day.

  71. hay guys , secured vendor for top strains of MMJ , get OG KUSH,LEMON KUSH,GREEN CRACK AND MORE just email maximngam@hotmail.com or text 9179322396

  72. this is long overdue

  73. and now 40.000 and counting medical marijuana patients are now forced by Harper to give up their medical records /, banking info to the Hells Angels funded grow Ops ??? that’s quite a breach of privacy in its self ?? … is there a gang related organized crime law

  74. The cons don’t want to legalize pot because it would impact their great economic justification for pipelines. Keep us poor and desperate is their motto.

  75. Feb-2014 we are cutting veterans services st a time of a record number of suicides amongst the vets to save millions the Harper minions say but continue the war on pot at a cost of $300M to $500M per year. We will never see logic nor the wants of the masses realized under the Harper regime. Any change for the positive will have to come from elsewhere. ONE MILLION Canadians with a criminal record for pot with devastating effects on them and their families, huge negative impact on the economy and absolutely ZERO gain for our society yet the Harper regime continues and has even escalated the war in pot. If you voted and or continue to vote Conservative you support this fiscally irresponsible government and their insanity.

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