Local real estate agents worked together to split a pile of wood donated by Haliburton Forest and Wild Life Reserve stored at Abbey Gardens near West Guilford. The work bee organized by Lakelands Association of Realtors on Thursday Nov. 3 was heart warming to Heat Bank co-ordinator Tina Jackson.

Readers respond to recreational marijuana legalization

By Sue Tiffin

Published Oct. 16 2018

Recreational marijuana becomes legal nationwide this week making Canada only the second country in the world to allow adults to purchase possess share grow or prepare products of recreational cannabis.

We asked readers through our Haliburton Echo Facebook page about their thoughts on the major change in Canadian law. Here are some responses:

Jennifer Semach said: “the message being sent to kids is clear – marijuana is OK. It’s not. It’s not OK for kids to use it it’s harmful to the developing brain. The legalization of this drug has just made my job a lot harder to convince kids to keep away from it. People will believe what they want to believe. It’s such an uphill battle keeping kids from practicing risky behaviours already this is only going to get worse now.”

Mike Chase responded to Semach’s message by saying: “Your message to kids on pot should be exactly the same as alcohol. Don’t overthink it.”

Maureen Taylor agreed with Semach though and said: “Children’s brain[s] cannot handle it…can cause psychosis in children under 18 as their brain is not completely developed yet till then… seeing role models do it will promote them to do it and it saddens me…we are going to see a lot of mental illnesses develop in our young people which [will] put extra load on mental health system and it will be a negative factor.” She added: “Overall I am pro-cannabis but we need some rules or laws around it… what are we telling people [it’s] not okay to drink in a park but you can go use cannabis there.”

Lesley English wrote: “Years ago at a family dinner the topic of legalized cannabis came up. I asked the kids (who ranged in age from nine to 14 at the time) what is the easiest substance for you guys to get alcohol tobacco or marijuana? Right down to the nine-year-old they all answered marijuana! They all knew who they could buy it from if they wanted. This confirmed to me that prohibition never works and if we want to keep our children away from a potentially harmful substance the only answer is legalization and regulation. If we don’t want our young people imprisoned for simple possession if we want to free up law enforcement resources to go after real criminals if we want to effectively study and test the benefits and dangers then it must be legal. I believe it is highly unlikely that just because pot is legal there will be significantly more users. Sure some folks might try it once or twice or indulge occasionally at a party but unlike tobacco and alcohol marijuana is not addictive.”

Wanita Livingstone said: “Mixed feelings. Our underground market for all drugs is unreal so I will appreciate legalization for that purpose. I’m all for the medical exploration of benefit though think recreational dosing should not be the same. I don’t believe that the gov’t has given enough consideration to Health Canada and impairment implications (let’s be honest though we already have significant impairment concerns due to a multitude of drugs). Time will tell.”

Pam Casey said: “While we are at it can we please get rid of the stigma surrounding hemp?!? It could be the fix for soooo many issues!”

Peter Neilson said: “I don’t use so it won’t affect me at all. I don’t think pot should be criminalized like it is now but I do think the government would have been a lot smarter to work out all of the details before they changed the law. Right now nobody knows exactly what ‘impaired’ means etc. Details matter- a lot. But there’s an election coming so I guess they have to have something they can point to to say they ‘accomplished.’”

To read more responses or to join the conversation visit the Haliburton Echo Facebook page.