Doctor-prescribed opioids, 5,383. Cannabis, 0.

By: Papa Ganja

Justin Trudeau really should go down the hall and elbow his way into former Toronto Police Chief MP Bill Blair’s Parliamentary office and tell him he wants to fast track the legalization of cannabis to the end of June 2016. Then Justin might call current Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders and ask him politely to drop the 71 Criminal charges, the 186 charges under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act and release any of the 90 arrested in last week’s cannabis dispensary raids who might still be lingering in one of his steel cages. Millions of dollars in police and court time are about to be squandered even if Liberals keep their word to introduce cannabis legislation in the Spring of 2017. Surely Canadians have better, more enlightened and humane ways to spend their tax dollars.

Here is the reality check upon which the above suggestion is offered: Dr. Kieran Moore, Professor of Emergency Medicine at Queen’s University in Kingston, recently pointed out the fact we have a “prescribed drug epidemic in Ontario.” According to Dr. Moore 5,383 Ontario residents died from non-intentional, opioid-related causes from 2002 to 2014. Right here in Hastings County (Central/Eastern Ontario, Canada) an average of five people per year, between 2006 and 2010, died from accidental opioid overdoses. Dr. Moore points out that even a week of opioid pain killer use can lead to addiction.

In that same time period how many people died from cannabis? Zero. Not one death has ever been attributed to the use of cannabis. In fact, “A recent study by the Journal of the American Medical Association has indicated that legalized marijuana in certain areas coincided with a drastic reduction in painkiller deaths. According to the study, between 1999 and 2010, within the 13 states that legalized marijuana, there was a 25% reduction in opiate painkiller overdose deaths. The survey of 473 adult therapeutic cannabis users found that 87% of respondents gave up prescription medications, alcohol, or other drugs in favor of cannabis. Adults under 40 were likely to give up all three of these for medical cannabis.” Big Pharma and Big Alcohol do not like what they are seeing and they have the money to “lobby” politicians.

Toronto Police Chief Saunders justified his actions saying, “It’s a genuine health concern because there is no regulatory process behind this. It is about public safety. Some of these dispensaries were within 300 meters of schools. There is no quality control whatsoever on these products.”

Herein lies the problem. Richard Nixon’s “War on Drugs” propaganda has permeated our collective consciousness about cannabis since 1971. The outright lies and politically-motivated distortions of the truth about this plant are all engrained deeply in our society. Chief Saunders just did the black market a huge favour. Organized crime was just given a reprieve by Toronto Police. Street dealers will once again fill the demand because the people who demand cannabis know the truth. As a drug cannabis is comparatively harmless yet very helpful to many who suffer from various health issues.

If politicians would simply educate themselves about the reality of this plant and get out of the way as fast as possible new industries could flourish in what is supposed to be our free enterprise, capitalist society. Like the wine revolution in Prince Edward County, where anyone with the passion can buy some land, plant some vines, squash some grapes and market their wine, Hastings County could have a flourishing hemp/cannabis agricultural renaissance. From hemp we can derive paper, cloth, hemp-crete building material, synthetic fuel produced seven-times more efficiently than ethanol from corn, etc. etc. From cannabis we can get very beneficial drugs which do not kill people.

The choice is yours Justin. Please, go knock on Bill Blair’s door.


Papa Ganja

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