LETTER: Cannabis petition should be examined carefully

Whether you are an adult or a youth, cannabis will always be available

Dear Editor:

I’m privileged to live in a country in which all can express opinions and organize petitions without fear of political consequences, social stigma, or worse.

Petitions are a wonderful means to draw attention to important social issues, but we also have a responsibility to assure that petition issues have been carefully examined before we act.

I’m part of a generation who was convinced by commercially-motivated propaganda that cannabis use was socially unacceptable. It’s a difficult mind set to overcome.

READ ALSO: Proposed Summerland cannabis location meets existing regulations

READ ALSO: Petition urges limits on retail cannabis stores in Summerland

In spite of inclusion of cannabis in almost every culture since pre-neolithic times, highly-funded commercial interests successfully stigmatized cannabis during the early 20th century and we bought into it.

In hindsight, how could we have allowed ourselves to discard the use of a natural product that is such an economical source of food, fibre, and medication?

We tried unsuccessfully to tell our youth that cannabis use was only for losers, but for over 50 years, our youth have trusted their peers more than regulatory authorities or parents.

We tolerated the legal sale of more profitable substances such as alcohol, tobacco, amphetamines, and opioids.

Whether you are an adult or a youth, cannabis will always be available. Whether Summerland has no outlets or 100 outlets doesn’t matter.

The issue of outlets is convenience, especially for seniors and the handicapped, who require medication for disorders of pain or anxiety.

Many have mobility issues and require access via electric scooter, wheelchair or walker.

It is a lost cause to regulate cannabis outlets as a means to prevent under age consumption, just as regulating tobacco and alcohol prevents consumption.

Our youth don’t care.

Most have access to free or inexpensive cannabis from peers. If they have a will to use any of these substances, they will find a way.

Parental example and truthful education of our youth is far more effective.

Cannabis can be a life saver for someone with epilepsy, depression, Parkinson’s, PTSD, MS or fibromyalgia. When recreational cannabis was legalized in Colorado, the demand for prescribed medical cannabis declined, but the sales of antidepressants and opioids also declined in the general population.

When regulations run counter to public values it undermines respect for the regulators just as an overly strict parent loses respect when a child adopts the values of his peers.

I will support any petition that targets a worthwhile cause, especially an issue that can improve a social condition.

Gary Strachan

Summerland

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