Legal Marijuana: Perhaps "Uncool," Definitely Good for Calgary

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Legal Marijuana: Perhaps "Uncool," Definitely Good for Calgary

Opinion pieces in the Calgary Herald should always be taken with a grain of salt (or a shot of something stronger), but this piece on potential marijuana legalization really takes the cake.

In it, weekly columnist Chris Nelson shares his uninformed personal opinion on the evils of marijuana, making a variety of assumptions that support his personal beliefs while painting anyone who disagrees as a leftist hashish-infused washout with an adolescent mind. Interestingly, he argues that legalizing weed might be a good thing, and for all the wrong reasons.

Here are the author's basic arguments, inasmuch as they can be teased out of his often-rambling, sometimes-whining diatribe:

Making marijuana legal means we can finally prove how dangerous it is. Nelson's most sane claim is that there hasn't been much research on the effects of marijuana due to its illegal status, therefore we haven't been able to tell just how dangerous the substance is. Legalization will allow more research money to flow to the greedy scientists ("There are scientific reputations to be made, awards to be won," Nelson says), who will likely prove that marijuana causes all the same problems tobacco does.

The problem is, there actually is a fair amount of research on the subject, and time and time again marijuana has been shown to be relatively benign, even with long-term daily use. But let's not let facts get in the way of a good rant.

Nelson then bizarrely brings up using marijuana by eating baked goods infused with the substance—which sidesteps any potential damage to the lungs—as a danger to the schizophrenics among us, smugly noting that some of the most misunderstood and vulnerable members of our society can see their mental health further deteriorated by use of the drug. That'll teach those Liberals!

He isn't wrong on this point—schizophrenics who use marijuana can experience more extreme symptoms—but first, it doesn't pertain to the vast majority of Canadians, and second, it's more than a little disgusting that he's willing to politicize a population of mentally ill individuals to make a rather weak and toothless point.

Nelson's central argument is that making marijuana legal will make it "uncool," and that will lead to people no longer using the drug. He may have a point here, and anyone using marijuana—or doing anything else—simply to "be cool" probably needs a bit of a self-esteem boost, or to finish puberty (perhaps both). But what is argument essentially boils down to is that he doesn't like marijuana and thinks people who use it are foolish ("the few times I tried it decades ago, I ended up giggling like some 12-year-old at her first Justin Bieber concert," he informs us), and the people who celebrate its legalization will prove his point in short order.

I, for one, think allowing more people to giggle like a 12 year olds is preferable to controlling what people can and can't do with their own bodies, and to fueling an illegal drug trade that necessarily incorporates violence into its operations. But I'm just an adolescent leftist at heart.

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