Photo C/O Grant Holt

By: Neda Pirouzmand

The university has banned the consumption of cannabis on campus, but the McMaster Centre for Continuing Education, Peter Boris Centre for Addictions Research and Michael G. DeGroote Centre for Medical Cannabis Research have combined efforts to pilot a new “Science of Cannabis” program.

Science of cannabis is going to be a three-course program that will meet the needs of health and community professionals, educators, civil servants and individuals with personal interest.

The first course of the program, Fundamentals of Cannabis Science, begins on May 13 and will run until July 21.  

Lorraine Carter, director of the CCE, emphasized the evidence-based nature and relevance of the program.

“The fundamentals course is an important introduction to the general history and science of cannabis, and sets the stage for subsequent courses focused on therapeutic interventions and the risks associated with cannabis use,” said Carter. “In all, grounded in contemporary evidence and delivered by McMaster’s leading experts in cannabis research, the program is an exceptional learning opportunity.”

Michael Amlung, assistant professor in the department of psychiatry and behavioural neurosciences at Mcmaster, will be teaching the “Fundamentals of Cannabis Science” course.

As a faculty scientist, his research focuses on cannabis misuse.

Carter saw a perfect opportunity to partner with James MacKillop, director of the PBCAR and co-director of the DeGroote Centre for Medical Cannabis Research, in the creation of the program.

“The CCE is always looking for program ideas that are timely and relevant to adult, undergraduate and graduate students,” said Carter. “With the legalization of cannabis this past October and awareness of the exceptional research in cannabis happening here at McMaster University, the chance to partner with Dr. McKillop’s research team was a natural partnership.”

The CCE offers flexible workshops and courses for students to build upon past skills, obtain a professional designation or pursue new learning opportunities.

These include crisis and mental health training, data analytics and web design.

According to Carter, despite its smoking ban, McMaster should consider pursuing programs similar to science of cannabis in its future.

“More and more students are looking for programs in specific topics and skills areas. Programs that are shorter than a degree such as a three-course certificate and that are offered online are especially appealing,” he said.

Carter explains that online courses garner over 80 per cent of enrollment in the realm of continuing education.

“The accessibility and flexibility of online courses is something that today’s learners value a great deal,” said Carter.

McMaster is following closely behind the heels of the University of Ottawa and Ryerson University in the timely introduction of cannabis-focused education.

Ryerson University launched a cannabis course called “The Business of Cannabis” last year and the University of Ottawa was the first Canadian law school to offer cannabis law courses for the 2018-2019 academic year.

Class sizes for the “Fundamentals of Cannabis Science” are limited and the second course of the program has yet to be revealed.

Depending on its success, the science of cannabis program may add more courses and update content as cannabis news and research develops.

 

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Photo from Silhouette Photo Archives

By: Lauren Olsen

Last January, McMaster University’s president Patrick Deane took a stand and banned all forms of smoking on school grounds, making McMaster Ontario's first 100 per cent tobacco and smoke free campus. This included banning the on-campus use of cigarettes, cigars, hookah, pot and most importantly, the ever-popular vape pens.

The ban on campus was a welcome sight for those opposed to tobacco, however, the ineffectiveness of enforcing this policy rendered the ban as a bland suggestion rather than a legitimate rule.

You can witness this phenomenon simply by walking around campus. You won’t make it far before encountering students vaping in direct violation of the McMaster ‘ban’, with their discretion being non-existent. Students can be found vaping in classrooms, lecture halls, residences and around campus.

Recently, there was an opening of the 180 Smoke Vape Shop in Westdale which will only further support and make accessible the habits of smokers. The store offers everything including e-cigarettes, vape juice, pens and portable vaporizers, and is located just a short walk from McMaster University.  

They are attracting not only smokers who may be trying to quit, but others who lack the proper information about the hazards associated with vaping, and may only be concerned with becoming part of the current trend. They are promoting this product as a commercialized, socially-acceptable activity rather than a helpful addiction quitting strategy for tobacco smokers.

For McMaster students, it’s just a short stroll to a readily-available addiction which is now a booming industry. According to BBC News, the number of vapers has increased rapidly from about seven million in 2011 to 35 million in 2016. The global vaping products market is now estimated to be worth up to $22.6 billion USD.

The rapid growth of the industry is not a victimless development. New products need new users and stores like 180 Smoke Vape Shop will likely be getting their customer base from McMaster.  

Other than perpetuating the ‘look’ and fueling the industry, students are playing with fire and risking addiction. Although e-cigarettes do not contain any tar, carbon monoxide or other chemicals found in tobacco smoke, they still mimic the familiar action of a smoker and can be addictive. What used to be a method to quit is now becoming a method to start, and making smoking acceptable again.

The smoking population who are slowly cutting back their nicotine addiction to quit smoking have made way for the young adults who are peer-pressured by the new “cool” thing to do and, in turn, are becoming dependent on the addictive drug.

Harvard Health Publishing describes the side effects of vaping to include the potential of diabetes, loss of impulse control, impairment of brain development and elevated heart rate and blood pressure. Thus, the antidote is quickly becoming the poison.

I am not advocating that McMaster shutdown 180 Smoke Vape Shop, or campaign to influence public policy. Rather, the university should enforce the very rule they promised in early 2018, in order to make McMaster a safer environment and community.

Creating a ban was a novel idea, but not following is more than just lazy enforcement — it is potentially dangerous to student health.

More and more youth will be exposed and persuaded to try vaping, which easily perpetuates an addiction whose lasting health implications are still being determined. Moreover, the campus itself is not an inviting space with smoke billowing from its hallways and paths. It’s time to inhale the future and start enforcing the smoking ban on campus.

 

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In a few weeks, the question of whether Hamilton should host private cannabis stores goes before the city’s planning committee.

Within the year before marijuana was legalized, the number of marijuana dispensaries operating in Hamilton had nearly tripled. With nearly 80 dispensaries popping up around the city, Hamilton had the most dispensaries per capita across Ontario, a testament to how huge the weed market really is in our city.

Right now, the only legal way to buy recreational cannabis is through the Ontario Cannabis Store’s website. Come April 2019, the province will roll out a tightly regulated, private retail model which will see the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario granting licenses to private retailers.

Until then, effectively speaking, cannabis dispensaries in Hamilton are illegal and unregulated. But what will happen to the remaining 21 dispensaries that the city has left?

In a presentation in January 2018 by Supt. Ryan Diodati, head of Hamilton’s police’s investigative services, Supt. Diodati noted that nearly 130 hours of staffing time had been invested in one investigation that had taken place in December 2017.

In many cases like this, that same dispensary could reopen the next day, ultimately demonstrating that overall, raids and closures resolve to be ineffective ways to shut down the climbing number of dispensaries across the city.

Municipal governments have until January to opt out of private cannabis stores within their jurisdictions, and there has been lots of talk within city council as to what will happen in April 2019.

Many councillors have put forward their concerns about the fate of dispensaries in the city. Namely Ward 4 Councillor Sam Merulla, who put forward a motion surrounding the fact that a lack of sustainable revenue sharing from the province in relation to the retail sale of cannabis to municipalities will amplify the regressive downloading crisis in Hamilton.

Considering the effect of nearly 130 hours of police staffing time that goes into one investigation and considering just how obsolete this work really is in shutting dispensaries down, where do we go from here?

Is there a reasonable point in shutting down the remaining dispensaries in Hamilton if they have the resources to open up again within hours? Is there a point to reallocating resources from our police department towards something that has proven to be ineffective?

As of April 2019, storefront dispensaries will have to be licensed by the province, but there will be no cap on the number of outlets within the city. Instead of wasting resources, energy and money on eliminating existing dispensaries within Hamilton, providing these businesses with a license would mean a more accessible and regulated approach to legalization.  

The city’s planning committee will decide whether they want to host private cannabis stores on Dec. 11.  

 

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Photo from Silhouette Photo Archives

I would like to preface this by saying I have never smoked. Blame the contract six-year-old Sabrina signed in purple crayon or the hour-long lectures my mother gave about the “dangers of drugs” but to this day, I’ve never had the desire to smoke, cigarettes or marijuana. I actually dislike the smell of smoke, especially that of cannabis, and so I can understand the motivation behind campus smoking bans. And yet, I still think they’re wrong.

If the federal government can legalize cannabis use and possession for consenting adults, then what right does McMaster or any university have to impose their own notions of health onto their students? Especially amidst the lack of evidence concerning the risks and therapeutic benefits of cannabis, it screams arrogant paternalism for a university to infringe upon our autonomy like this. Whether I chose to smoke or not should be my decision, irrespective of the institution that I pay into.

Welcome to our Tobacco and Smoke Free campus: https://t.co/UaF8ukbles pic.twitter.com/jcxhj38zSc

— McMaster University (@McMasterU) 4 January 2018

McMaster prides itself on being the first Ontario campus to go 100 per cent tobacco and smoke-free. So far, the rules have been fairly simple. If you are caught smoking on campus grounds, you get a warning, and maybe a fine too. The ban has not stopped students from smoking, however. It has only stopped them from smoking in well-lit, safe areas.

And that’s the kicker. Prohibition has never worked. If someone intends to use a substance, they’re going to use it whether you ban it or not. The government realizes this. They realize this so much, in fact, that they have legalized — and will soon profit from — cannabis. If universities were smart, they would realize this too.

I am not saying that students should be encouraged to attend classes high or to smoke during lectures. But the rules need to be revisited and revised to be more realistic and definitely more comprehensive. Students will smoke. If the university truly cared about their students, they’d help these students smoke in a safe way.

Specialized university smoking policies are unnecessary. Smoking in Canada is already banned in indoor public spaces and within nine meters from the entrance of social service institutions, including universities. If these rules are sufficient outside of the university bubble, there’s no reason they can’t be sufficient within it.

Brock University has recently updated their smoking and vaping policy to address the use of cannabis on campus; specifically banning smoking cannabis, banning the production of any cannabis edibles, and implementing scent-free cannabis storage rules. In addition to these policy updates, Brock is proposing to create a new “Fit for Work Standard” which could potentially include the monitoring of substances including cannabis to judge the impairment of their employees.

This is where my main concern lies. Regulation of a substance is a slippery slope. It’s no question that marginalized communities are disproportionately profiled and stand a greater risk of being unfairly policed and mistreated. I fear that what may start as well-intentioned smoking bans could quickly lead to prejudiced behaviour against vulnerable groups on campus.

It’s important to remember that there are many social determinants of cannabis use, and its misuse. Last week, I attended a roundtable on the impact of cannabis legalization which was held by the Michael G. DeGroote Centre for Medicinal Cannabis Research. One of the attendees, a representative from the Canadian Mental Health Association, stressed that we must not tread into the medical reductionism of cannabis. The harms that are associated to cannabis are tied to a myriad of social issues that we must address first. Poverty, housing instability, food insecurity and racism are all factors that contribute towards cannabis use. There are also those who use cannabis as a treatment for an uncountable number of diseases and disorders including insomnia, anxiety and depression.

How can we then justify a ban against cannabis? This would essentially be a ban against its users, many of whom are the vulnerable and disenfranchised. It’s unclear what McMaster plans to do. What is clear is that when creating policies like smoking bans, it is the responsibility of the university, which claims to care about its students, to consult the people who will be impacted.

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Photo by Grant Holt

By Drew Simpson

As of Oct. 17, Canadians 19 or older, including the majority of McMaster students, will be able to legally possess up to 30 grams of cannabis and purchase weed from the Ontario Cannabis Store and regulated retailers. However, despite the update in federal legislation, McMaster is staying firmly committed to its smoking ban.

As defined by McMaster’s “Tobacco & Smoke-Free University Policy,” smoking includes “inhaling, exhaling, burning, or carrying any cigar, cigarette pipe or any other lighted or heated tobacco or plant product… including hookahs and cannabis whether natural or synthetic, in any manner or in any form.”

When it comes to students’ ability to smoke in their off-campus houses, landlords have the authority to permit or disallow cannabis. However, landlords cannot limit any other forms of cannabis consumption.

Students living in residence at the university have to sign the Residence Act. Surprisingly, the 2018-2019 Residence Act outlines restrictions on alcohol consumption and possession in residences, but does not mention cannabis at all. Despite this, Sean Van Koughnett, the dean of students at McMaster, has referred to those same alcohol consumption rules as a framework for regulating cannabis within residences.

Specifically, Van Koughnett says that students will be allowed to possess cannabis in residences and on campus as long as what they carry adheres to specific amounts specified in legislation. The specific amount stipulated in the cannabis act is up to 30 grams. It appears that the rules for cannabis consumption in residence will follow those for alcohol consumption.

Regarding edible possession, universities like the University of Toronto limit edible and oil consumption to the privacy of one’s residence room. However, Andrea Farquhar, assistant vice-president of McMaster communication and public affairs, speaks of potentially only allowing manufacturer labelled edibles and oils, with the goal being to limit mixing.

According to Farquhar, if cannabis is consumed straight from the container it was sold in, it must be labelled by the manufacturer. Consuming cannabis oil from any unlabelled container is not permitted. For instance, one cannot leave unlabelled edibles in a residence refrigerator.

Farquhar understands how difficult it is to enforce rules like this, but still aims to make the expectation known.

Edibles will not be sold by regulated stores until July 2019, however, giving McMaster and other universities much more time to clarify their rules regarding edible cannabis.

Moreover, the Cannabis Act allows possession but limits the transportation of cannabis. In particular, cannabis cannot be readily available to any person within a vehicle. This section fits neatly into McMaster’s rules as the university’s policy also bans smoking, including cannabis, within vehicles on McMaster property.

A concern that the university’s policy fails to address is growing cannabis. Nevertheless, it is clear that Canadian universities are largely seeking to prevent students from growing cannabis in residences. Odour is the most popular argument backing this decision.

Currently, McMaster’s smoke-free policy also does not address research-related smoking. While the Cannabis Act allows research as an exception to smoke-free policies, McMaster has never addressed research as an exception to its rules.

After Oct. 17, as long as students are over 19, purchase cannabis from regulated stores and consume it privately, they are within the law. However, key questions remain unanswered and some McMaster rules may need fresh examination amid legalization.

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[spacer height="20px"]In this edition of Sil on the Streets, our News Reporter, Ryan, caught up with McMaster students to get their opinion on weed legalization.
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Update [June 8 @ 14:56]: The Act was passed in the Senate of Canada on June 7, 2018. After reconciliation of the House and Senate bills, the Act will be effective in the summer of 2018.

One of the biggest milestones in the Canadian history of legalized weed might come into play this summer.

As of right now, marijuana remains a Schedule II drug under the Controlled Drug and Substances Act. Unless otherwise regulated for production and distribution for medical purposes, it is subject to offenses under that act. Processing and selling marijuana for non-medical purposes is still illegal everywhere in Canada.

The Cannabis Act, also known as Bill C-45, is an act that was introduced to Canadian Parliament in 2017. This act would legalize cannabis nationwide when combined with Bill C-46, an act to amend the criminal code.

Under the Cannabis Act, should it come into force, adults who are 18 years or older would be able to legally possess up to 30 grams of legal dried cannabis or equivalent in non-dried form and share up to 30 grams of legal cannabis with other adults.

This act would also allow adults to purchase dried or fresh cannabis and oil from a provincially-licensed retailer, grow up to four cannabis plants per residence for personal use and make cannabis products, such as food and drinks, at home provided that organic solvents are not used.

The Cannabis Act will also see strict regulation under federal, provincial and territorial governments who would share responsibility for overseeing the new system. The federal government’s responsibilities are to include setting strict requirements for producers, setting industry-wide rules and standards, including the types of cannabis products that will be allowed for sale, the pacakge and labelling requirements, standardizing serving sizes and potency

Despite the federal government’s efforts to make the July 1 target to pass the Cannabis Act, new reports say that the bill will need to be delayed to ensure that provinces and territories have the capacity to get the products in their shops. The senate will vote on the Cannabis Act on June 7.

Until then, Canadian cities are awaiting the regulations to take effect. In an email, Constable Lorraine Edwards, Hamilton Police Media Relations Officer, noted that until the legislation is passed, Hamilton Police will continue to enforce current laws.

“Hamilton Police is currently enforcing the laws outlined under the Controlled Drugs and Substance Act in relation to all listed drugs including marijuana,” said Const. Edwards. “Until such regulation or legislation changes, we will continue to enforce the laws outlined in the CDSA.”

The rise in local dispensaries has seemed to significantly blurred the lines of legality in Canada over the past few months. According to the Government of Canada, dispensaries are not licensed by Health Canada under the current law, and are illegal.

Within the past year, the number of marijuana dispensaries operating in Hamilton has nearly tripled despite increased bylaw enforcement efforts. There are now nearly 50 dispensaries operating in the city.

Ward 2 councillor, Jason Farr, has noted that the number of illegal dispensaries in this city may be affected with the enactment of the Cannabis Act.

The growing number of dispensaries may be affected by a motion I successfully moved last year,” said Farr. “[the motion] respected a radial separation between establishments. At that time, the province had not yet announced its plans to exclusively sell through an LCBO model. The coming results of the Provincial Election may bring back the possible radial separation by-law to council.”

The Cannabis Act is not set to take effect for another few months. In the meantime, cities are planning the logistics behind operating under this framework.

“The reality is the federal government has decided to legalize marijuana in Canada,” said Farr. “It’s our job as a municipal government to ensure that once the federal legislation takes effect, we mitigate any issues that may arise and I believe we are well prepared to do so.”

 

Anyone who was on campus around 4 p.m. on Oct. 6 likely remembers the pro medical marijuana protest, which occurred in front of Mills Plaza, where one man protested McMaster’s looming smoking ban, arguing that its policy against medical marijuana ignored its health benefits.

The man in question was Christopher Lawson, a local activist known within the community for his work promoting medical marijuana. He does not have any official affiliation with the university. The protest centered on McMaster’s proposed smoke-free campus initiative set to begin on Jan. 1, 2018, at which time smoking of any kind will be banned from campus grounds.

Marijuana remains a point of interest for McMaster, from the administration to the student union to researchers all taking a unique stance.

Protest on campus regarding the smoking ban and its effects on medical marijuana users. pic.twitter.com/damw0JSKov

— The Silhouette (@theSilhouette) October 6, 2017

In its current state, McMaster’s smoking ban will also include a ban on the use of medical marijuana on campus. This ban is a part of a larger effort to improve public health on university campuses, highlighted through Okanagan Charter.

In addition, McMaster administration also received a human rights complaint earlier this year after excluding a graduate student from attending an overseas trip due to her use of medical marijuana.

Halima Hatimy was meant to take an overseas trip to Ghana as a part of her ongoing research on global health in Feb., but was stopped by the university a day before she was meant to leave.

The university felt she did not fully understand the risk associated with taking medical marijuana to Ghana. Hatimy has since filed a human rights complaint against the university.

While the administration takes hard line with marijuana use, the McMaster Students Union has a softer approach toward the subject.

During the Sept. 24 MSU Student Representative Assembly meeting, the MSU SRA voted to adopt a motion cautioning the university’s smoking ban, arguing that it currently does not recognize that marginalized groups are disproportionately affected by addiction and substance abuse.

The SRA motion argued that the university ought to prioritize student safety and accessibility before considering implementation of the ban.

With this in mind, the SRA has not taken an official stance on marijuana itself, but rather a more general stance concerning smoking.

Meanwhile, research on campus is very much in favor of decriminalization and use of the substance. Prof. Michael DeVillaer, under the Peter Boris Centre for Addictions Research, recently argued for the decriminalization of minor cannabis-related offenses and focusing the legalization discussion around public health.

“The Canadian government should continue to work slowly and methodically towards the legalization of cannabis for recreational purposes, with a priority on the protection of public health and safety over revenue,” read a part of the policy analysis available on the PBCAR’s website.

The policy analysis also calls for the establishment of a not-for-profit marijuana authority for all recreational use meant only to address the current demand without actively promoting the substance. For example, the policy analysis would ban product innovation such as edible forms of marijuana.

Overall, the policy analysis is in favor of the decriminalization and use of marijuana, so long as it is regulated through a public health lenses.

While the protest on Oct. 6 remains a foggy memory overridden by the reading week break, McMaster’s multiple sectors continue to have contrasting opinions over marijuana use and its role in our lives.

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It may be hard to imagine, but there is a marijuana dispensary just a few minutes away from campus.

Nestled in Westdale Village lies a store with a casual spa-like façade. This is Pacifico, and while the words “Mind, Body and Soul” printed on the storefront resonates with a leisure experience, the shop deals almost exclusively in medical marijuana.

Pacifico is positioned conveniently in a high-density of McMaster student residences. Considering the culture of pot dispensaries and the legal issues commonly associated with them, Pacifico attempts to present itself in a strictly clinical fashion, pushing itself away from the illegal, recreational facet of marijuana.

The backstory behind the medicinal marijuana dispensary began with the owner, Tamara Hirsh. After contracting a food illness from eating fish contaminated by the ciguatera neurotoxin, she was afflicted with complete nerve pain. Conventional painkillers were not doing the trick, and it was only until she tried cannabis that her pain was alleviated. Pacifico was founded under a core belief in alternative medicine, particularly helping people looking to choose cannabis as a remedy.

As Hirsh explained in a piece from the Hamilton Spectator, Pacifico operates under tight security surveillance. The outside lobby area is kept clean with an ambience resembling that of a clinic. The marijuana itself is kept locked in an inner room that is stored in a heavy-duty safe when the store is closed.

Considering the culture of pot dispensaries and the legal issues commonly associated with them, Pacifico attempts to present itself in a strictly clinical fashion, pushing itself away from the illegal, recreational facet of marijuana.

Pacifico takes pride in a business model that is stricter than other dispensaries. In order to qualify as a client, patients require a doctor’s note or prescription and must answer an eight-page intake form.

“We require a documented condition, something written by a doctor diagnosing you with insomnia or anxiety,” said Alexis Titian, an educator at Pacifico.

While this documentation is sufficient enough under Pacifico’s terms to sell marijuana to a client, it still remains illegal for the individual.

The store recommends that clients get the legal marijuana license as well.

“We are connected with a clinic called Body Stream and with a doctor referral, they will take you through the process and you will get your legal medicinal marijuana license,” Titian said.

Marijuana exists in a legal grey area. While currently illegal, the CBC has reported that the Liberal government will present legislation next month to legalize marijuana in Canada by July 1, 2018. In early March, police conducted raids on a series of dispensaries owned by Marc and Jodie Emery, also known as the “Prince and Princess of Pot.” One of the Cannabis Culture stores that was raided was located in downtown Hamilton.

According to the report, provinces will have the right to limit how marijuana is distributed and sold as well as the right to set price. For businesses such as Pacifico, the future of their business is in limbo as governments decide how to regulate the industry.

By: Grace Kennedy

The Conservative government launched a new anti-marijuana television ad campaign that aims to warn parents about the harms of recreational marijuana use. The ad really tries to convey "science." A woman speaks in a serious warning tone accompanied by imagery of smoke funnelling through what appears to be a clear tube, which I naturally assumed was part of a bong. When the picture zooms out it turns out to be an image of the brain composed of a clear tube-like material, i.e. a really cool looking bong. I really hope the marketing firm responsible for the ad sold this idea to a head shop after.

Bong jokes aside, the ad is entirely aimed at parents, urging them to "talk to their teens" about the side effects of marijuana and visit their website.

After doing so, all I can think is, thank God I don't have a teenager with a marijuana "addiction" that I'm trying to convince to stop blazing. The website has very little useful information. However, it does have a Pinterest account with a picture of an alarm clock that reads, "Do you know what 'four-twenty' means?”

The television ad may as well say, "Hey voters, who are considering voting Conservative," because of its narrow target audience of "traditional" families and complete incompetence in providing compelling information that could alter anyone's opinion on marijuana use.

If this ad by the chance of a Hail Mary causes any teen to visit this website for help, there is no way they will spend more than 18 seconds on this brutal, uninformative page. The site is so poorly constructed that I think it's actually condescending toward parents or teens who actually want help.

Of course, the reason for this could be because there is no specific treatment for marijuana addiction and methods such as behavioural cognitive therapy have had modest success at best.

The ad is part of a $5-million campaign that has been controversial because critics have viewed it as a partisan attack on Liberal leader Justin Trudeau's stance in favour of the legalization of marijuana.

The Huffington Post reported this summer that the government spends $500 million per year on anti-drug campaigning and enforcement, and that 475,000 people have been criminally convicted in relation to the "drug" since Harper was elected. Furthermore, the main bodies representing physicians in Canada did not co-sponsor the ad, stating it was a "political football."

Health Canada's website currently states that "dried marijuana is not an approved drug or medicine in Canada," but on the same page, gives instructions for how to obtain it with the support of a physician.

I write "drug" because I think that the stigma behind criminalizing drugs, especially a softer substance like marijuana, is the real harm to society. Criminalizing drugs requires policing and judicial costs that are a burden to taxpayers, but it also poses horrible consequences to people who are criminalized as "addicts" or depend on trafficking, and then face sentences that drastically jeopardize their lives, for a substance that is arguably pretty widely-accepted.

In the U.S., 46 percent of the population will have tried marijuana by the time they graduate from high school. I couldn’t find comparable Canadian statistics perhaps because the government doesn't want to publicize that throwing money on these campaigns is like combating Facebook usage.

The war against drugs hasn't paid off, hasn't decreased drug use, and only makes life harder and dangerous for addicts and participants in its black market economy. The Conservative government's obsession with drug prevention is archaic and severely out of touch with Canadian needs.

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