What would legalizing accomplish?

Mary Glassford discusses the decriminalization of marijuana.

Local governments are now home from their yearly UBCM. I noticed that a slim majority voted to decriminalize marijuana. I did ask myself if any research had been done to justify the thinking.

What will it accomplish? What are the risks associated with marijuana? Of course we are all entitled to opinions, that is what makes a democratic society. I have done some research. It appears that it is not easy nor should it be, to arbitrarily decide to decriminalize marijuana.

Another concern appears to be the THC content in the cannabis which has increased dramatically over the years: 1978 – 1:37 per cent, 1988 – 2:59 per cent, 1998 – 4.43 per cent. THC content continues to rise. The reason for this is the sophisticated cannabis cultivation of today.

I certainly was not aware that a popular form of marijuana called Sinsemilla, made from the buds and flowering tops of female plants, have the THC content of 7.5 per cent to as high as 24 per cent. Hashish, a resin made from the flowers of the female plant have THC levels of five to 10 times higher than crude marijuana. The Netherlands is making changes to their laws as they pertain to coffee shops –  where marijuana is tolerated for recreational use. It has created issues for them.

Talk about confusing – first of all the way I read the info, I have found, coffee shops are allowed to buy and sell Cannabis but suppliers are not allowed to grow, import, or sell it to the coffee shops. So begs the question, how do they get their supply?

Unless I have misunderstood what I have read, one of the drug policies of the Netherlands is to combat the production and trafficking of recreational drugs. It is still illegal to sell or purchase cannabis anywhere other than a coffee shop. The Netherlands is also moving to a more restrictive approach, banning cannabis sales to non-Dutch residents – Dutch citizens must now be registered to go to the coffee shops. No admittance to anyone under 18 years of age. Coffee shops will not be allowed within 200 meters of schools. A new proposed law will put cannabis with a THC content of 15 per cent or more onto the list of hard drugs. According to research, marijuana does have an effect on the mind and body. It shows marijuana reduces the ability to learn and retain information. Marijuana is, by itself, a high-risk substance for adolescents; the impact on learning is critical.

Marijuana smokers are prey to lung damage, and the risk of cancer. Apparently there is as much exposure to cancer-causing chemicals from smoking one joint as smoking five cigarettes. From what I understand there are many dangers to marijuana. So the question should be, do we seriously believe that marijuana is harmless and that grow ops will disappear if decriminalized? If still elected I would have been speaking very loudly against such a resolution. Is it safe to use?

Mary Glassford is a long-term Quesnel resident, former Cariboo Regional District director and city councilor and president of the Post Secondary Education Council.