What is it about Vancouver and its determination to make pot smoking a regular activity, like drinking coffee?
... four former Vancouver mayors [Mike Harcourt, Philip Owen, Larry Campbell and Sam Sullivan] ... waded into matters well beyond any local jurisdiction, penning an open letter last month that demanded the end of marijuana prohibition in Canada.
... Last week, sitting Mayor Gregor Robertson chipped in with a tweet: "Good to see 4 Vancouver ex-mayors calling for end of cannabis prohibition. I agree, we need to be smart and tax/ regulate."
... A key flaw in the legalization and regulation argument, what proponents such as the four ex-mayors and Mr. Robertson ignore, is the assumption that underground markets would just disappear. In fact, they would continue to thrive. [True. In my hometown in Manitoba the RCMP spent most of their time chasing bootleggers. Also the drug gangs who peddle marijuana also peddle just about every other illegal and dangerous substance. They’ll continue to sell it all.]
... What damage, one must ask? The mayors weren't talking about physical and mental health, which would seem paramount.
... The facts are: Cannabis products are laden with harmful chemicals; marijuana smoke contains carcinogens and damages respiratory systems; consumption impairs cognitive functions, especially among youth, who are susceptible to more serious psychological and physiological effects than adults.
... What about long-term health and productivity effects? Have those been punched into any cost-benefit analysis? ... work-related intoxication, and certainly impaired driving .... Would a bus driver be free to smoke a joint - or three, or five - before or during his shift? How could anyone detect if he had?All good questions.