Health Canada wants us to take them seriously. This federal government department wants people to stop smoking and stop taking drugs. But Health Canada is also issuing applications to grow pot and is looking for farmers with empty barns. You can start by growing medicinal marijuana (for people with a prescription) and if you can be trusted with that, you get to grow pot for anyone who wants a buzz.
People who want to legalize pot often argue that one joint is no different from one beer. A glass of wine or a beer with a meal is enjoyable and can help you relax. What is the purpose of a joint? Maybe to relax a little. But pot smokers want a high and they’re sure to get one. Marijuana marketed legally in U.S. states is 10 times stronger than it was in the 1970s. I can’t imagine there’s much of a market for consumers who want the addictive and carcinogenic qualities of the product but not the mind-altering buzz.
We know that marijuana’s psychoactive component (THC – tetrahydrocannabinol) can be found in the body months after the high has worn off. Our youth will bear the brunt of the effects as they are most likely to abuse pot, just as they abuse alcohol.
Alcohol is legal because it has been that way long before we realized how harmful it is, says Dr. Ed Gogek, an Arizona addiction psychiatrist, who has treated more than 10,000 addicts and alcoholics. He argues that if the alcoholic drink were invented today, we’d likely ban it. But that cat is out of the bag. Why let out the dragon?
Gogek agrees that alcohol causes more harm in teens than any other drug — not because it’s worse — but because it’s legal and widely available. Legalizing pot will absolutely cause irreversible brain damage in young regular users and the only people who don’t know that are those who refuse to look at the evidence.
The IQ level of addicted teen users actually drops enough that a good student might become a struggling student. Shockingly, 25 per cent of pot users started in their teenage years.
The Canadian Medical Association tells us that a person’s brain does not stop developing until about age 25. The CMA also says that regular teen users will permanently alter their brains and statistics show these users are more likely to drop out of school. There are many studies that show that dozens of structural changes show up on brain scans, and most of the damage is permanent. These changes are linked to less ability to think and plan, more impulsivity, poor attention, and worse memory. Teenage marijuana users think more slowly and process less. We also know that there are numerous common problems that will just get worse after legalization. Here are some of them: Crime, child abuse, domestic violence, divorce, teen pregnancy, abortion, HIV, prostitution, and drugged driving.
Colorado legalized marijuana in 2012, and it now sees a significant increase in out-of-state teenagers, panhandlers, large number of homeless drug addicts, an increase in petty crime and fear among locals who say they don’t feel safe anymore on city streets. Colorado has licensed more than 300 stores. Traffic accidents caused by stoned drivers are up significantly. Starting next summer, Canada will get to enjoy more dangerous roadways too.
Here’s another thing to consider. There is no reliable on-the-spot test for marijuana intoxication. None exists. Police in Washington State, where smoking pot is legal, can only make the impairment charge if the driver confesses.
One of the biggest myths about marijuana is that it needs to be legalized to end street dealing because drug dealers don’t ask for ID. But in any jurisdiction where pot is legal it hasn’t put the dealers out of business and hasn’t stopped underage users. In 2013, the United Nations issued a report that ranked the 29 richest countries on marijuana use. Eleven of 14 countries with the highest use of teen marijuana use had decriminalized marijuana.
Legalizing pot will cause significant societal changes, in spite of generating tax income. In 2014, legalized pot in Colorado netted US $52 million in tax revenue. It’s not worth it.
So, if you know anyone considering growing pot, there is more than profit to consider. He becomes complicit in the moral dilemma once he gets into it. Anyone growing marijuana will have himself to blame if his kids grow up to be underachieving potheads. Anyone okay with someone else’s kid getting addicted and dumbed-down, has a callous, not-my-problem attitude. And when it comes to pot that pretty much sums up what the federal government thinks of our youth.
Patrick Meagher is editor of Farmers Forum and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.