POLITICAL CORNER: Progressive drug legislation is the future

Image courtesy of the Toronto Star

Written by: Liam Wilson

Last week, Canada became the second country in the world and the first G7 country to fully legalize marijuana for commercial sale and personal use. As someone who’s never smoked a joint in his life, even I have to say: It’s about damn time.

From Reefer Madness in the 30s, to Ronald Reagan’s infamous statement that, “marijuana . . . is probably the most dangerous drug,” the war on marijuana has a long history. Politicians, teachers, and parents have long preached the dangers of “the devil’s herb.” Never mind the fact that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found alcohol (which is very much legal) to cause an estimated 88,000 deaths annually in the US, whereas the Society for the Study of Addiction (SSA) found marijuana to cause an estimate of zero deaths.

Thankfully, it looks like the times might finally be changing. With legalization, marijuana will soon be much more accessible in Canada and people will no longer be arrested for possessing small amounts of it. The government is hoping to take billions of dollars out of the black market and give it back to provinces and the federal government. The industry looks set to flourish, with even Snoop Dogg signing on to support the emerging Canadian marijuana market.

It seems that the perspective on drugs and drug users is progressing to a much kinder state within the government and our society. Whether it’s the strong support and positive research surrounding projects such as Insite, or BC’s latest ad campaign which aims to show that people who use drugs are average people that we are around every day, our society’s view of drug users is becoming much more empathetic. If you ask me, the world could use a little more empathy and unity these days.