Time To Get Off The Pot

Apr 20, 2012

I am what is com­monly referred to as a Red Tory.  Which means that, while I am a card-carrying mem­ber of both the Con­ser­v­a­tive Party of Canada and the Pro­gres­sive Con­ser­v­a­tive Party of Ontario ( and a board mem­ber on both rid­ing asso­ci­a­tions ), I don’t nec­es­sar­ily agree with every­thing that my two polit­i­cal par­ties set as pol­icy. And that’s fine; this is a democ­racy, and the poli­cies of the par­ties I belong to are built from the grassroots-up.  Any party mem­ber can pro­pose a pol­icy or pol­icy change, which then is debated locally, region­ally, and nation­ally. Most of us Red Tories are lock­step with the eco­nomic poli­cies of the Con­ser­v­a­tive par­ties, but tend to be a lit­tle more relaxed when it comes to social poli­cies.  I like to look at each of these issues indi­vid­u­ally, and base my opin­ions on my own under­stand­ing of the facts. I don’t let my polit­i­cal beliefs drive my atti­tudes; it’s my atti­tudes and beliefs that drive my polit­i­cal affil­i­a­tions. And, in what my con­ser­v­a­tive col­leagues will call a sharp left-turn, I think it’s high time ( pun intended ) that we legal­ize mar­i­juana. Now, I don’t smoke pot.  I am not advo­cat­ing for the legal­iza­tion of the stuff in the hopes that I will be able to get high in peace.  My rea­sons are more prac­ti­cal and prag­matic. There are mas­sive amounts of research into mar­i­juana, its use, med­ical con­se­quences of use, and its addic­tive prop­er­ties.  The vast major­ity of the sci­ence indi­cates that mar­i­juana is no more harm­ful to humans than alco­hol or tobacco. Yet, it has gained an unfair stigma as a “gate­way drug.” Advo­cates of that the­ory pos­tu­late that because most harder-drug users admit to using mar­i­juana in the past any­one who uses mar­i­juana today runs the risk it will serve as a “gate­way” to these more toxic, more addic­tive sub­stances. Yet, what those against the legal­iza­tion of pot fail to men­tion is the fact that those who use harder drugs also admit to using tobacco and alco­hol. Besides, a reverse-proof argu­ment like this has no merit.  All politi­cians may have rid­den bicy­cles as chil­dren, but it doesn’t nec­es­sar­ily fol­low that all chil­dren who ride bicy­cles will become politi­cians. Laws are imple­mented by our elected offi­cials, and main­tained by the state, for the pro­tec­tion of the cit­i­zenry.  Yet, the more I look at this issue, I see more harm com­ing to us from the “war on drugs” and ille­gal­ity of mar­i­juana than if it was legal­ized. Pro­hi­bi­tion of some­thing high in demand never works – it didn’t work with alco­hol, and it cer­tainly doesn’t work with pot.  In fact, it cre­ates a crim­i­nal indus­try that pro­duces higher prop­erty crime rates, more vio­lence, and less sup­port for those who use the drug. The eco­nomic side of it is what really blows my mind.  How many hun­dreds of mil­lions of dol­lars are spent each year by our fed­eral, provin­cial, and local police ser­vices to enforce these anti-marijuana laws? Are we really win­ning this “war” against our own cit­i­zenry? Imag­ine the tax rev­enues and eco­nomic ben­e­fits that would come from com­pletely legal­iz­ing and reg­u­lat­ing the indus­try. Would we need the aus­ter­ity mea­sures cur­rently pro­posed by our fed­eral and provin­cial gov­ern­ments if we had this addi­tional tax base? Per­haps, but the level of cuts would prob­a­bly be less­ened. In poll after poll, the major­ity of Cana­di­ans have indi­cated that they believe mar­i­juana should be legal­ized.  I have yet to see a con­vinc­ing argu­ment to the con­trary. It’s up to each fam­ily to live by their own moral code; just because some­thing is legal, doesn’t mean my fam­ily has to do it.  But if free­dom is truly what we stand for, then it’s time our fed­eral gov­ern­ment lis­tened to the major­ity. Let’s legal­ize mar­i­juana, and move on to solv­ing more impor­tant issues. Source: Intel­li­gencer, The (CN ON) Copy­right: 2012, Osprey Media Group Inc. Con­tact: http://​www​.intel​li​gencer​.ca/​f​e​e​d​b​a​c​k​1​/​L​e​t​t​e​r​T​o​E​d​i​t​o​r​.​a​spx Web­site: http://​www​.intel​li​gencer​.ca/ Author: Glenn May-Anderson

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Time To Get Off The Pot

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