When we look at the science and history of cannabis, we see that it is safer than cola, coffee, or chocolate. When one considers that cola and chocolate products almost always have a lot of sugar in them, and coffee sometimes has sugar, we realize that cannabis is much safer. And when we factor in the myriad medical benefits of cannabis, we see that our public policy is downright absurd.
Anyone who says that sugar isn’t a drug has never seen a kid eat a lot of sugar. Same with caffeine. But then I guess it is ok to have kids jumping around high on sugar… but not lying around laughing because they are high on pot…? That is a weird culture you have there…
In my opinion, people should avoid sugar and caffeine like poison, but it is also reasonable to suggest that letting a kid have a can of Mountain Dew or an Aero bar once in a while is not a big deal. The problems come when the kid is doing it too often, and it leads to other problems like diabetes, obesity, dental decay, and stupidity.
Sadly, Canadian parents have dropped the ball over the past 30 years. With about one third of Canadians (of all ages) being obese, and another third being merely overweight, Canadian parents have – in my view – lost all of their “Hey, you can’t let kids have that!” privileges. I see them in the food courts and grocery stores, feeding their families garbage. I see their chubby, whiny brats as they have their sugar-crash in the department store or on the bus. I see them buying giant chocolate bunnies at Easter. The worst part is – they know what they are doing. It isn’t like parents think McDonald’s is real food, they know perfectly well that they are doing at least some harm.
Now, obviously no sane person wants to see little kids (or teens) lying around stoned on the lawn, all red-eyed and giggling… any more than we would want to see them all fat and lazy from junk food, or bouncing off the walls from too much caffeine. Responsible parents would teach and monitor their kids so that they would know how much chocolate, cola, or marijuana was enough, or too much.
As it stands now, we could literally sell pot from corner stores to any kid of any age, and they could not possibly have any more access than they do already. Just about any kid of any age can find pot in Canada in under a day. There is a glut on the market. The more clever ones can even buy it on line.
Further, we are only talking about 15-20% (of the 10-18-year-old population) who are using pot more than once in a while, with maybe 3-4% who are using it weekly or daily, and a fraction of 1% who are doing it too much and having problems at home or at school.
That is nothing compared to the fifty to sixty percent of Canadian kids who currently have weight issues. The notion that allowing pot to be sold next to Hershey bars is somehow going to endanger the public is pretty absurd. Kids who want pot, get pot. No one has obeyed the law in decades. The kids who don’t use pot now, will probably not start if the rules changed.
This raises an important question: If kids have ubiquitous access to pot now, and selling it in stores would not increase their access or the danger posed to them, then why bother? Why not just make it 18 and over like tobacco and booze?
Well, for a number of reasons. The most important reason is that if Old Man Corner Store doesn’t sell your kid a clean pot cookie or a clean and bar-coded 2-gram baggie, some 20-something creepo will sell him something outside.
That guy deserves no customers. His product will likely come from some gang-grow, or his own crappy indoor or outdoor shwagg, and he will overcharge your kids, taking your hard-earned money and giving it to people who possibly also deal in who-knows-what?
Secondly, kids can smell hypocrisy a mile away, so telling them pot is too dangerous for them, while adults use it like the health supplement that it is, will not sit well with them. Whether they want to use marijuana or not, they will resent being lied to, and especially so badly!
Third, having police not bother with pot use at all will help restore some public faith in law enforcement. People of all ages have lost respect for police and even police work as a whole, because the police not only waste endless time and resources trying to stop pot from being grown and sold and used, but because they lie about it. They lie about marijuana, they lie about their busts, they lie about the merits of prohibition. They no longer deserve any say in marijuana policy, period. They lost all their privileges too. The only time a cop should be involved in a marijuana issue, is if someone stole some pot.
This raises another important question: If, in the future, kids have ubiquitous access to pot in corner stores like chocolate, how do we keep them from using it?
You don’t. You teach them the facts, you instil in them a sense of moderation and humility and grace, and you monitor their behaviour so they don’t get the chance to abuse pot any more than they would chocolate or cola. Keep them busy. Get involved in their lives. Give teachers the tools to teach to these issues honestly, and begin public information campaigns urging sensible use.
And no, you don’t need to be a parent to figure that out. ______________________________________________________________