Can’t we just legalize weed already?

I’m no doubt preaching to the choir here when I say I think marijuana should be legalized. And that’s an opinion that would stand just as firmly in a university paper today as it would have had I been writing during the good old “drug, sex and rock-and-roll” days in the ’70s.

The difference is that, today, the majority of Canadians of all ages now agree with me. In fact, a 2012 Angus Reid Public Opinion Poll found that 57 per cent of Canadians across the country say marijuana should be legalized and 66 per cent say they expect it will be within ten years.

Likely, they have all drawn the same conclusions as I have during the past 40 years. Booze and pills, the kind that are perfectly legal, and easily accessible, cause more health problems, more accidental deaths and more social and family crisis then all the pot heads combined.

Twenty-seven years working in a hospital facility and never once did we ever see an overdose of grass (do they still call it grass?) Nor did we ever have to contend with the broken bones, missing teeth or smashed noses stemming from a marijuana induced bar fight.

Not only that, but one study estimated a typical Canadian province could reap $500 million a year in taxes and licensing revenues through government regulation of the product.

With those kind of numbers, that $10 billion New Brunswick deficit could be swiped clean in no time. Just think, Fort McMurray would be a ghost town within days of such an announcement and “Frack-Off” anti-shale signs would soon be reading “So Long SWN” and “Get Your Hootch Here.”

Well, ok, that might be going too far.

But really, it’s not that much of a pipe dream, pardon the pun. Even the cops, The Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police to be specific, want reform around the issue of marijuana law.

Which actually brings me to the reason why I started thinking about this issue in the first place. An RCMP officer, from right here in Oromocto, has been in the news after being fired due to smoking pot in public, while on duty and wearing his red surge uniform.

His story is he suffers from PTSD and marijuana has been prescribed as a medically safe way to control symptoms of anxiety, which is actually true. Many anti-anxiety medications have negative side effects not experienced with marijuana use.

But having said all of that, with all the pros in favour of legalized marijuana use, recreationally and medicinally, I have to say, I draw the line at RCMP officers smoking dope in the parking lot of J-Division on their lunch break.

And with that I want to wish everyone a great, safe Christmas and New Years break, and please, don’t drink or smoke pot and drive.

See you all in 2014.

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