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June 22, 2018 15.2°C

Popularity at any cost

Posted on January 30, 2018 by Maple Creek

Wayne’s World by Wayne Litke

I tend to be a little anti-government at times – and it does not matter which party is in power – because they all make ridiculous decisions at times. Therefore, I apologize in advance if my opinions do not match your beliefs, but that is acceptable in any democratic country and is one of its greatest strengths that should not be abused or curtailed.

While minding my own business last week, a news report floated through the air, entered my ears and made the slow journey to my brain. It got my turbocharged peanut firing on all cylinders and raised my blood pressure. A journalist explained the Liberal government will be spending almost $1.5 million on scientific studies into the effects of legalizing marijuana, but most of the research will not be completed until after cannabis has been legalized in Canada! That will occur on July 1 of this year (2018), which is a date many people and pot-selling dispensaries are anxiously awaiting.

While such studies are a great idea, the timing is absolutely ridiculous. Any responsible government would first acquire all information possible – pros and cons – and assess it before deciding if a drug such as marijuana should be legalized. That is the process that takes place before a new pharmaceutical drug is approved for sale. Even with such safeguards in place drugs with hidden or unknown side effects are approved and used on humans.

However, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau thinks he knows what is best for Canadians and moved quickly to legalize pot after being elected. In his rush to be the most equitable and popular PM ever, he has ignored the No. 1 rule of public service – protect the people. I need to point out that sometimes that means making unpopular decisions and following due process.

Trudeau’s point man on the issue, MP Bill Blair said studies were not conducted in advance of passing Bill C-45 because it would have proven too difficult to obtain accurate data before the drug was legalized. I really hate it when someone insults my turbocharged peanut and the intelligence of all Canadians with an illogical and stupid statement that is absolutely false. Who does Bill Blair think he is fooling? He is simply trying to cover for the PM who made the legalization of cannabis an election promise.

If Trudeau is truly interested in the welfare of Canadians, especially young people, he would have said he would consider legalizing pot if elected if scientific data indicated it is does not cause social or health problems. However, that would not have garnered him the vote of every person who smokes dope. Instead he took the route that would serve his interests the best. In doing so he appeared hip, cool, too sexy for his shirt and any other term you wish to use that endears him to young voters.

Now, after the fact – and in good conscience (cough, choke, gag) – Trudeau has decided additional studies should be conducted to understand the impact of new pot laws. To make that happen, a total of 14 projects at hospitals and universities will each receive $100,000 to conduct various studies such as how marijuana use affects teenagers and pregnant women. Studies will include how legalization impacts various communities including minorities and First Nations, and how pot use changes after anyone over 18 years-old can legally purchase and use it.

A problem that has only recently come to light in the Liberal caucus is the sad realization that people need to be educated about the drug. Really? That is no surprise and any forward-thinking policy maker should have thought of that a long time ago. For that reason the government set aside $9.6 million in this year’s budget to inform people, especially young people, of the hazards of cannabis use.

A tender was issued for a public awareness campaign that will fulfill that purpose. Included in the tender is this explanation: “Canadians need to be educated about the use of cannabis in order to mitigate its potential risks and harms. They generally view cannabis use as socially acceptable, but are ill-informed about the health and safety risks; this is especially true for youth” Which leads to the question, “Why in hell is it being legalized?” The answer was already stated. It is a political move that will show the prime minister lived up to a campaign promise and at the same time transformed himself into a pop-culture idol.

Back in the 1960s and ‘70s, the active ingredient in pot known as THC was three to five per cent. The high-grade pot that is now being sold is 20 to 30 per cent THC and like substituting a beer for a glass of moonshine, it comes with significant health hazards. Pot use in moderation can cause cognitive damage and mental-health problems such as depression, bipolar disorder (manic depression) and has resulted in schizophrenia. Furthermore, the risks increase dramatically if the user’s brain is still in its developmental stage which typically continues until a person is in their mid-20s. Mental health risks associated with marijuana use also run high if a person has a family history of mental-health issues.

I am afraid Prime Minister Trudeau’s true legacy will be the damage that is inflicted on young people through the legalization of pot. He is popular right now and that bodes well for his political career, but not for the future of our youth.

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