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By Zoey Jones

Marijuana is an illegal drug. It is not sold in stores and you cannot order it online. To purchase marijuana, you are committing a crime and to sell it, you are committing an even bigger crime and can be charged with trafficking and face a criminal record. Many provinces and states in North America however, are re-thinking their approach on marijuana, a little bit. Governments are taking note of some of the pro’s of marijuana use and the positive effects it can have on the lives of terminally ill or chronic pain patients.

In Canada, there is a law in place that allows people with certain health conditions permission to posses, grow and use marijuana. To qualify for permission from Health Canada to legally use marijuana for therapeutic use, the person must be working with a doctor and must have fully exhausted all other treatments. Marijuana use is seen as a last resort for a way to ease someone’s pain and the effectiveness and safety of regular marijuana use has not yet been determined in Canada or in any country in the world. People who are granted permission from Health Canada to posses and use marijuana for therapeutic use have three ways to acquire the drug: they can get permission to grow their own supply, they can get an outside party permission to grow the drug for them, or they can apply to receive the drug from Health Canada. These rules are strongly enforced and anyone growing the drug for these purposes must be over 18 years of age, live in Canada and meet a list of requirements as outlined by the government.

Many activists, while they greatly support this government measure, think this is not enough – they want to see full legalization of marijuana. The arguments for the legalization of marijuana include: could collect tax on marijuana, control the price and control the ‘added’ ingredients in marijuana and reduce much of the risk, free up police from petty drug crime and focus on harder drugs. Many people consider moderate marijuana use no more dangerous than alcohol and legalization of marijuana, some believe, would cause drug dealers to lose their business

Those against marijuana legalization argue that the drug is addictive and that the smoke is dangerous. It is also believed that marijuana use greatly reduces attention span and short term memory, it’s risky to buy because you don’t always know what you’re getting in a joint (can contain many other dangerous substances). There is also concern by some that instances of people driving under the influence of marijuana would increase and that regular marijuana use can lead to use of harder drugs.

No matter where your opinion lies, the fact is, in Canada there are currently no plans to legalize marijuana beyond the special circumstances mentioned above.  Ultimately the legalization of marijuana is a social debate and no matter what government decides, there is literally no way that everyone will be happy with the decision that one particular government makes. It’s and individual choice for individual situations and currently in Canada if you choose to posses, grow and use marijuana without pre-approved permission from Health Canada, you are breaking the law. It’s a big risk and you have to decide if it’s worth it.

Think it over,


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