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The weekly editorial for the 100 Mile Free Press

As of this week marijuana, in some forms is legal. This has prompted a sickening abundance of coverage and for the most part, I’m with Rick Mercer in that it’s a little boring.

To be completely transparent, I’ve never smoked pot nor am I all that interested. However, even I will stipulate that for those who are “freaking out” about the impact this is going to have on the children, you have been severely disabused of reality. Having gone to high school in 100 Mile House, yes there were some groups of students who weren’t really exposed to it. But in my personal experience, for every student who didn’t have access to marijuana, there were multiple who did.

As such many of the issues that have been raised, such as the accuracy of roadside testing aren’t really new issues. Roadside testing for marijuana, for the most part, was a concern as much before it was legalized as after it was legalized.

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Furthermore, the rollout of stores hasn’t exactly been breakneck speed, with a single store in Kamloops and none anywhere else in the province meaning that our local pot distributors aren’t about to be out of business any time soon. It’ll likely be a few years before we really start seeing a change on that front; the South Cariboo is rarely the first to implement such changes.

Some coverage has surrounded other countries now looking to Canada as an example. Having grown up in the Netherlands, where it’s long been decriminalized, I don’t think it’s far less helpful than it’s made out to be. My hometown in the Netherlands isn’t substantially dissimilar from 100 Mile House in many ways. It’s small and so rural that’s the official name for the region it’s in is literally “the back corner.” Obviously, a rural town in the Netherlands isn’t quite as rural as a rural town in Canada but similar enough in broad strokes.

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Yet many of the lessons that could be learned from there are much use here. Growing up, despite it being decriminalized, marijuana use seemed far less common than here where it’s been illegal up until now. Thus the biggest factor in usage seems to be cultural acceptation something which Canada has seemed to have had for years and without which legalization would have never happened in the first place. Secondly, most people don’t drive. This means that while in the Netherlands lots of teenagers would drink alcohol for example, far fewer died drinking and driving; biking into a ditch or lampost may be unpleasant but rarely fatal. Similarly, many of the lessons learned in Canada may not be applicable elsewhere.

The most interesting thing about the whole legalization are legal issues, which generally aren’t all that interesting.

It’s a little funny though, that you can now fly in Canada with a substance that will land you in jail in most countries for simply possessing it but don’t you dare try to bring a bottle of water on that same flight.


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