Going to pot? Part 2
Over 1,600 Uxbridge residents responded to the township’s survey about the possibility of a retail cannabis store opening (eventually) in town. About 54 per cent said they do not oppose such a store.
However, among those who do oppose it, some of the reasons given are so out of touch with reality that one is tempted to ask: “What have they been smoking?”
Council received four letters from residents last week which bore such a close resemblance to each other that one could reasonably suspect the authors had banded together to discuss the wording. Two of the letter writers are people I know, like and respect, but on the subject of a cannabis store they really are grasping at straws. All four letters writers are concerned that wherever such a store is located in the urban area, school children would likely walk past it. Oh, the horror! They fail to mention that said children can already walk past a beer store, a liquor store, four pubs, a brewery and several restaurants where liquor is served, as well as establishments selling cigarettes and vaping supplies, all of which are not to be sold to underage people. They don’t appear to be concerned about that.
This week, more letters were sent to council, all spouting the same refrain: “We must protect the children.” The whole point of the legislation making cannabis legal is to at least make the weed less accessible to youth by putting the illegal suppliers out of business. And just as with the sale of alcohol, the legislation makes it more difficult for youth to buy it. But all the letter writers choose to ignore that fact.
One letter writer, talking about “young teenagers,” asks: “Why would we allow them to be able to purchase drugs right here in our town.” Obviously, this person hasn’t read much about the legislation because a cannabis store would not be allowed to let “young teenagers” into the store, let alone sell them product.
Another letter writer offered that “one in five teens who use cannabis becomes addicted (and) cannabis addiction often leads . . . to harder drugs.” A report by the Institute of Medicine, a non-profit organization established as a component of the U.S. National Academy of Science, found “no conclusive evidence that the drug effects of marijuana are causally linked to the subsequent abuse of other illicit drugs.” It also noted that “underage smoking and alcohol use typically precede marijuana use.” As for becoming addicted, I suggest it’s perhaps not the product that causes addiction, but rather it could be one’s personality. For instance, I am addicted to sugar, tea, cigarettes but also to my computer, spending countless hours a day in front of it. Then there are those who are addicted to gambling, running, or, dare I say it, sex. One can become addicted to almost anything, harmless or not.
A letter from the Uxbridge Chamber of Commerce said one of the main concerns of its members was proximity of such a store to “daycares, schools (and) businesses.” As far as schools and daycares are concerned, the legislation spells out the minimum distance required between cannabis stores and those facilities. But businesses? Where does the chamber think a pot store would locate? In a farmer’s field?
And finally there was the letter writer who opined: “Uxbridge will become a one-stop shop for those looking to buy cannabis. Let’s not be naïve and think those coming to town won’t smoke a little before they leave.” That logic is staggering. Does this person also believe it is naïve to think someone buying a case of beer at The Beer Store won’t drink a little before they leave?
So many who are opposed to cannabis chant the tired old mantras of added crime and protecting the children. But this admitted “pothead” has three sons who don’t even smoke cigarettes let alone pot, even though their parents did; this admitted “pothead” organized successful fund-raising campaigns that allowed him to take local youth to the Canadian Scout Jamboree in Alberta and the World Scout Jamboree in Holland; this admitted “pothead” wrote a children’s Christmas musical which was performed by local kids three times; this admitted “pothead” helped Uxbridge Public School with a number of their school plays and was involved in several children’s theatre productions for Celebration of the Arts: and the only crime this admitted “pothead” ever committed was buying the product that is now legal. So much for criminality and harming the children.
It seems to me that those opposed to a cannabis retail store should stop watching “Reefer Madness” and Cheech and Chong movies and start talking to the many everyday people in this community who have been partaking of marijuana and still leading productive lives. They might learn to tell fact from fiction.
Tell me, am I wrong?