Cannabis could be Legal: Vote for the Country You Want

Matt Mernagh
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Legalize the Leaf

Relax. Weed won’t ruin your life.

That’s the message that we need to communicate. Let’s engage in a thought experiment here. Cannabis is politically polarizing; but we need to zoom our focus way out to see the issue with more clarity.

The thesis for this piece is: Who benefits from keeping cannabis illegal? It isn’t the citizens, patients, Veterans, or doctors. It’s the politicians who are repressing your cannabis rights, and the drug dealers are the only ones who benefit.

There is no good reason why cannabis decriminalization or even legalization should be a polarizing issue.

We’re past the point of being polite about this. If you enjoy your freedom, then vote for it or risk losing it

Phrased differently, who doesn't benefit from cannabis legalization?

Cannabis offers significant, documented benefits for patients including pain management, reduced dependence on opioids, relief of spasticity, and stimulating appetite. And lest we forget, our honourable Veterans use cannabis as an effective way to cope with PTSD.

Yet, the people who rely on cannabis to cope are required to obtain a user licences as if they were a threat to society. Why should carded patients require close supervision by the authorities? 

Incarceration for cannabis costs everyone, so why do we do it?

Maclean’s reported that while “many international jurisdictions have legalized or decriminalized marijuana, in Canada, during the life of the Conservative government, arrests for possession of marijuana have increased by 28%.” There are lives being destroyed by the penalties for using cannabis — not from cannabis itself. Let’s break this down. Incarceration costs money. But fear can be used to leverage votes, even if it is a lie.

Cannabis users are not a threat to society, (unlike hard drugs, alcohol in some cases, and the side effects of opioids). No, far too often the political opposition comes to down to something as extraneous as the smell. Let’s remember that smoking cigarettes in public is still legal. And that sh#t is poisonous; it kills people every year.

Where do the Canadian political parties stand on cannabis legalization?

Justin Trudeau and the Liberals are for full legalization. If there was ever a win/win/win for the patients, the people, the economy this is it.

NDP leader Thomas Mulcair said that his party would decriminalize personal cannabis use ‘the minute we form government’ – he also said the NDP would look at Canadians who previously faced criminal charges related to pot.

The Green Party will always make sensible choices on the issue of cannabis legalization.

And then there is the Conservative Party of Canada. Why should our government be spending money putting good people in prison when they could be collecting tax revenue off a happy population of productive cannabis consumers? This debate is purely rhetorical; very little about it is based on science. Not in Canada under the leadership of Stephen Harper and Heath Minister Rona Ambrose, at least.

Even the RCMP lacked data to back up their claims that medical marijuana grow operations under Canada’s old licensing system were inherently dangerous to producers and magnets for violent thieves and organized criminals, according to what an expert told the Federal Court.

We are past the point of being polite about this. If you enjoy your freedom, then vote for it or risk losing it.

Cannabis can open doors

Cannabis will not ruin your career either. It makes the best people better because it allows them to relax and focus on the work that needs to get done. Cannabis does promote creativity, it inspires unique solutions to complex problems, and it makes the business world a little more humane.

It is a modern day quintessential social skill that binds young, affluent, and successful professionals. It is evolving into a social convention that is as influential in determining 'who' you do business with as your ability to golf. It's a social past time, that extends a degree of trust to anyone sharing in the ritual.

Smoking cannabis well is a social skill for hipsters, and the like, who connect over a joint at a backyard bonfire on warm summer nights. These are the successful young people who are growing the start-up businesses we all know and love.

Closing your mind to cannabis use is simply another way of the closing the door to great career growth — ironic, right?

Vote for the Canada you want

Now, remember, under Stephen Harper, cannabis related arrests are up 28%. Imprisonment for cannabis is real and though we tell ourselves it could never happen to us — it does.

Focus on what we're fighting for in Canada.

We know that our medical patients, and Veterans need and deserve our support. Still, think of how many people may never get the chance to burn one down with their mom or dad because it is simply not socially acceptable. We hide our cannabis use from our parents because we don’t want them to be disappointed in us.

However, we have an opportunity here to achieve a deeper connection with the ones we love. But instead the politicians have told us that using cannabis is somehow immoral. Forget that tired message. Perpetuating this culture of shame, misinformation, and outright lies is what’s immoral.

Vote for the Canada you want — for all us.

Please vote: October. 19. 2015 

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Maria Kravets
Maria Kravets