Pubdate: Thu, 19 Nov 2015
Source: Guardian, The (CN PI)
Copyright: 2015 The Guardian, Charlottetown Guardian Group Incorporated
Author: B.M. Matthews
Page: A8


As the dust settles following the recent Liberal election win, 
Canadians are anxious to see what changes lay in store. There are 
many polarizing issues on the table, and the pending legalization of 
marijuana is certainly one of them. Many think it is about time 
marijuana became legal, while others believe it will inevitably lead 
to extremely negative consequences, especially for our youth.

Differing opinions are to be expected, and are in fact essential to 
effective discussions; as long as each party is relatively up to date 
with factual information, and not basing their opinions on outdated, 
morally charged and misinformed assumptions. To not agree with the 
potential legalization of marijuana is therefore perfectly 
reasonable, but only so long as people are accurately informed.

There is much research being conducted on the health risks and health 
benefits that marijuana or cannabis may actually have. Our society 
has long associated marijuana or cannabis with other illegal, more 
harmful substances. We are now aware that marijuana is significantly 
less addictive, and its use relatively less harmful than virtually 
all of its previous counterparts, including alcohol and tobacco. This 
is not opinion, this is fact.

When the relatively low risk factors for serious health issues and 
addiction are presented, the all-too common rebuttal regarding 
marijuana being a gateway drug, responsible for leading youth to the 
more dangerous drugs, is often presented. For the record, I am not 
implying that marijuana is something everyone should try. It does 
appear to be a safer alternative to virtually all other substances, 
legal or illegal, that Canadians are now using recreationally or prescribed.

So please, for the sake of productive discourse, inform yourselves, 
and consider that perhaps we have been misled for way too long.

B.M. Matthews, UPEI, ENG 101 course
- ---
MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom