Pot Smoking Stats Real Eye Opener

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Do you smoke pot? According to stats I saw this week, 12 per cent of Ontario residents 15 and over smoked marijuana at least once over a recent 12-month period.  Which is about 1.3 million Ontarians.  Or about 130,000 people here in York Region.

This is according to Statistics Canada’s Canadian Community Health Survey for 2012, which asked Canadians over 15 if they used cannabis or hash.

Keep in mind these were only the people willing to admit to using pot.

The real numbers could be a lot higher, pardon the pun, considering this is a type of behaviour not everyone would readily admit to on a government form.

For political prognosticators, that’s a lot of Justin Trudeau supporters.  Maybe that’s why Stephen Harper’s poll numbers seem to be going up in smoke.

And here I thought some people were just really happy, really hungry, or had the giggles.

Next time someone laughs at one of your jokes, you’ll be tempted to ask, “Did you actually think that’s funny, or are you just high?” And stop eating those Cheesies.

Obviously it can’t be just teenagers, whose current slang words for cannabis or getting high – according to this thing called Google I have on my computer – include to get blazed, chief, burn one, bent, kush and, well, by the time someone like me is using them in a community newspaper, they may already be obsolete.

Point is, considering the stats, there must be professors, lawyers, MPs ( such as the aforementioned Mr.  Trudeau ), journalists, the Ford family, and many others out there, who you would not think of as your typical pot smokers, who are, in fact.

Don’t get me wrong.  I don’t have a whole lot against people who smoke up.

They used to bother me more, when I thought of all the mayhem created by the people growing the pot, with law enforcement chasing them – all in the quest to supply herbal refreshment to people who rationalized that their little illegal indulgence was harmless.

But as the pot laws become more relaxed, particularly in the U.S., the people who smoked up despite the laws and the negative consequences for society, seem a little less selfish, a little more mainstream.

Things are being legalized, taxed, in some U.S.  states, including Colorado and Washington.  In Canada, we are just getting a sniff of this brave new world.

So now, there is a rush by all kinds of people to get into Canada’s “medical” marijuana business.  Why?

Because of several recent court decisions, the projection in the next few years is that up to 400,000 Canadians will have gotten themselves permits to use medical marijuana, as in daily, up from 40,000, which now must be supplied by government approved growers ( think $ signs ), with Canada’s doctors forced to take part in the approval process for “patients”.

This despite what the Canadian Medical Association says is a lack of scientific evidence that marijuana is anything other than a recreational drug, even if it is, anecdotally – for some – helpful dealing with illnesses that cause pain or seizures.  Fine.  But 400,000 people?

Maybe, like the U.S., it’s time to give everyone the right to smoke pot ( responsibly – no driving ) and leave the doctors and Ottawa out of it.  Something to put in your bong and smoke before the next federal election.

So Trudeau Smoked Pot. at Least He’s Honest

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That Justin Trudeau has dabbled with pot likely surprised few in Canada.  However, his recent admission that he took his last puff just three years ago is provocative.

We’re used to politicians saying they tried marijuana in their carefree youth.  And used to them drastically playing down the amount they smoked – that is, if they actually inhaled at all.  But these types of political confessions stopped being news a long time ago.

What’s different about Mr.  Trudeau’s divulgence is his acknowledgment he did it just a few years ago, while an MP.  And, not insignificantly, while the possession of marijuana was still a criminal offence in this country – and remains so.  That is either politically brave or stupid.  It is without question refreshingly honest.

It’s doubtful Mr.  Trudeau and his advisers would not have considered the potential fallout of his story about sharing a joint with friends at his Montreal home.  ( He also said he’s only tried marijuana five or six times in his life, and has never done other hard drugs ).  They likely determined that those who might be offended by his revelation were probably disinclined to vote for him anyway.

They also likely decided that the vast majority of Canadians would probably shrug at the news.  So he took a puff at a dinner party.  It’s a scene played out in living rooms and backyard patios among young professionals like Mr.  Trudeau every day.  Pot is the parlour drug of choice for many urbanites, and long has been.  Many prefer its mellow effect to the toll of an evening of drinking.

In Vancouver, of course, you can’t walk along a downtown street without encountering pot’s pungent odour.  I can assure you, Mr.  Trudeau did not hurt himself on the West Coast with his frank disclosure.  And certainly the young people who have been drawn to his political crusade aren’t going to punish him.  Rather, they will laud him for his candour.

The stigma that once existed around marijuana has mostly dissipated.  Almost every week another group is calling for its legalization.  Mr.  Trudeau himself recently came out in support of it.  Health professionals across the country have long pointed out it’s time to legalize and regulate the sale of cannabis the way we do alcohol.

Even south of the border, where the war on drugs was lost a long time ago, some U.S.  states have moved to legalize cannabis.  So far, Prime Minister Stephen Harper has shown no interest in moving down this road.  Even if Mr.  Harper believed that heeding the many calls to decriminalize pot was the right thing to do, he likely couldn’t do it.  The Conservative base would never forgive him.

Consequently, this allows Mr.  Trudeau to look more enlightened on the subject, more in tune with modern thinking.  A vast majority of Canadians support decriminalizing marijuana because it makes sense.  Why clog up an already overburdened court system with people nailed for having a bit of weed in their possession?

It will be intriguing to see what the Tories do with Mr.  Trudeau’s revelation.  Will they make a big deal out of the fact that he was breaking the law when he lit up? This, by a man who purports to want to run the country! They had no qualms about making fun of Mr.  Trudeau for being a drama teacher.  Will they now propose his marijuana use confirms he’s as big a flake as they’ve been suggesting?

Over the years we’ve learned that when it comes to trying to destroy political opponents, the Conservatives will do, and say, just about anything.

I would suggest, however, that going after Mr.  Trudeau on this matter will not get the traction the Tories are seeking.  If anything, it may just make Canada’s governing party look dated, out of touch and even a little paranoid.

Source: Globe and Mail (Canada)
Copyright: 2013 The Globe and Mail Company
Contact: [email protected]
Website: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/
Author: Gary Mason

Trudeau’s Admission Sparks Pot Debate

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Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau’s marijuana mea culpa has sparked some serious reefer madness on Parliament Hill.

Trudeau’s confession that he smoked a joint after becoming an MP has put the pot-smoking predilections of politicians – if any – under the microscope.

It now seems every parliamentarian is being asked if they’ve ever fired up a fattie.

For the record, Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird says he has stayed away from the drug after seeing a U.S.  Supreme Court nominee withdraw after it emerged he smoked marijuana in college.

“I came of age politically in the 1980s and I can recall when one of President ( Ronald ) Reagan’s nominees for the U.S.  Supreme Court had to withdraw because of his use of that substance, so I took my example from that,” Baird said.

The question also came up at a news conference with Employment Minister Jason Kenney and Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander.

Kenney says he has never smoked a joint – although he did admit to drinking coffee, a jab at the java-averse Trudeau.

“I’ll let Mr.  Trudeau’s comments and actions speak for themselves,” he said, parroting Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s response a day earlier.  “All I can say is, I would like to make a public confession that I do drink coffee.”

Alexander chimed in, saying he, too, drinks coffee.

Justice Minister Peter MacKay also got in on the pot pile-on, saying most Canadians expect their elected representatives to stick to the straight and narrow.

“It’s currently against the law to smoke dope.  I think most Canadians expect that their member of Parliament will obey the law,” MacKay said Friday in Halifax.

“But this admission of smoking marijuana, breaking the law, doing so knowingly while he was a member of Parliament – the politics of this are such that there’s an element of hypocrisy of having voted on the record to increase penalties around the same time that he was lighting up.  So his credibility is a little up in smoke.”

Trudeau, who was elected to Parliament in 2008, voted a year later for mandatory minimum sentences for pot production.

Not everyone was such a buzzkill, though.  In an interview with Global TV’s The Morning Show, actor George Takei praised Trudeau’s candour.

“It’s going to be a great positive for him,” said Takei, who played Mr.  Sulu on the original Star Trek series.  “It serves Canada well to have a politician who can be known for his honesty and forthrightness.”

One of Trudeau’s caucus colleagues also came to his defence.

“People admire Justin’s candour and his common sense,” Liberal MP Scott Brison said in an interview.  “I’ve also had comments from people that find people like Stephen Harper and Peter MacKay hopelessly out of touch with near-toxic levels of sanctimony and more interested in attacking someone’s character than actually listening to reason.”

He said no one has questioned Trudeau’s judgment in toking while an MP.

“No, I have not heard that at all from anybody,” he said, dismissing Tory attempts to persuade Canadians that Trudeau is unfit to govern.