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EDITOR'S NOTEBOOK: Would marijuana legalization make communities more safe?
By Kris Dubé, Ft Erie Times
This debate has been exhausted at the federal level for over a decade, but this week its arguments hit pretty close to home.
A local male was stabbed in the head and had a gun pulled on him, because he had marijuana at his property on Garrison Road.
He claims to have a legal prescription to smoke what some might call a 'left-handed cigarette' to treat a medical condition.
The purpose of this editorial isn't to point fingers at this individual, especially if his license is legitimate and he applies to the rules within it.
I'm looking at the overall picture here.
Crimes like this, in a small town like Fort Erie are unheard of.
But this type of thing happens all the time in big cities, even in other parts of Niagara.
Homes are invaded by violent people who want a piece of the cake… a lot of the time it's related to hard drugs which most certainly should never be considered for legalization.
But many do just have to do with pot.
If possessing a quantity of government- regulated marijuana was legal, criminal organizations and other people who make a shady living in the underworld selling it on the street, would be devastated financially. It would almost be a step in the right direction in the "war on drugs."
In no way am I endorsing this substance or telling young people to give it a try…because that's just ridiculous.
But I will go on the record saying its effects are no worse than alcohol.
It doesn't make people hop in their car and crash into a telephone pole or completely black out to the point that you can't remember a single moment from heavy use the previous night.
It has negative impacts on people and again I must re-iterate that it is illegal and people need to abide by the laws applied to them. I'm also not admitting to be a user … I want to make that more clear than a stoner's eyes after putting in too much Visine.
But people should keep in mind the idea of legalization is endorsed by federal politicians, medical professionals… and a laundry list of other occupations ranging from teachers and accountants to plumbers and mechanics. There's probably a few between janitors and computer technicians too.
It's not really that 'far out' of an idea.
Imagine all the stimulus funding the federal government could provide to fix some of Fort Erie's roads, if it had a few extra hundreds of millions to spread across the country on an annual basis.
Imagine how many less violent home invasions we would hear about, if criminals who distribute it on the street couldn't compete with government regulated product and prices.
It's something to consider…that's all I'm saying.
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