Article by Tammi Stanhope, High! Canada
Taking for granted and playing on the racist attitudes of white Americans in the early 20th century while stoking fears of cannabis, in the 1930s a film called, “Reefer Madness,” suggested that evil marijuana dealers lurked in grade schools, waiting to entice children into a life of crime and degeneracy.
Since then, there has been a general trend toward greater social acceptance of cannabis by a more EDUCATED society who has seen the harm that was actually caused by the prohibition of it. Researchers have been able to show over the last decade or so that people who are actively using hard drugs, know that cannabis can actually reduce the harmful effects of other drugs as well as treat many diseases from cancer to epilepsy to PTSD. Now with weeks away, until “legalization” takes effect, it’s interesting to read the headlines of newspapers and online news outlets and hearing the general conversations taking place while taking note of the modern “reefer madness” that has begun.
Hamilton, ON is my hometown and here in what’s been dubbed the “NEW HAMSTERDAM” we’ve experienced a little bit of the ‘wild west’ in the last couple of years leading up to legalization. It’s true that we currently have more dispensaries than any other city in Canada, but what is more important than that is that we have hundreds if not thousands of people who are actually educated and knowledgeable in all aspects of cannabis from growing to extracting to dosing to prescribing and to infusing edibles. This does not include all of those professionals in the accounting, science, investing, advertising, marketing, IT, equipment and security fields that also factor into the “new” cannabis industry.
However, the conversations around the water cooler and in social settings the past couple of weeks have been quite worrisome given the randomness of the articles recently published by the local paper (The Hamilton Spectator) as well as many other media outlets both in print and online. Two, however, have seemed to be at the top of the list of the 33 cannabis related articles printed from September 10, 2018 – September 21, 2018, in The Hamilton Spectator. They are “Canadians who smoke pot, or work, or invest in the industry, will be barred from the U.S.: Customs and Border Protection official” and “Pot overdoses on the rise among Hamiltonians”
First of all, it’s beyond me that educated, rational individuals would actually believe that the U.S customs even can or is going to demand copies of their investment and credit card statements in order to enter. Sure if you roll up to the customs line and you happen to be smoking cannabis or displaying it or even acting abnormally, you may be subjected to further questioning and investing… BUT that is already how it is. You do not need to disclose your financial history while traveling nor do you have to willingly disclose that you consume cannabis or work in the industry. If it’s something that you feel that you can’t avoid, then don’t travel to the U.S or be prepared to be turned away and face a possible ban on entering for willingly being honest. BUT that is entirely up to you. Those rules are no different now than they were prior to legalization, and also applies to other countries as well where cannabis is illegal. So why now all the panic?
Next, the overdoses on the rise in Hamilton. Really? When did this take place? Why hasn’t there been more news on this considering it would really help those geared up to prove that cannabis is harmful?! Let’s start with the total amount of people who have overdosed and died from cannabis. Zip. Zero. That’s according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention which collects data on a range of other substances, both legal and illicit, and the Drug Enforcement Administration. Eating too many edibles and getting sick or taking a dab that was way too big and falling asleep is hardly overdosing and if needed to compare to something, alcohol does both of those things regularly to its users, has no medical benefits whatsoever, and is celebrated and marketed the hell out of without bang an eyelash.
I heard more times than I care to ever hear again this week, “Well Tammi, I just don’t agree that it should be made out to be fun like with candies and food and colourful packaging. It will make kids want to use it and how are parents supposed to keep it away from their kids? Why are people making it seem appealing?” Well Susan, how did you manage to keep your children out of the bleach cabinet during their childhood? How did you hide your delicious red wine and coon candy flavoured vodka all this me? What about the prey boles of cleaning products or boxes of cookies and Cheerios (now found to contain high levels of Roundup)? With pills being the most easily available narcotic for a kid to get at home these days and opioids being an epidemic how is cannabis bad guy #1 that needs to be kept out of the hands of the public? How is it ok to have your 5year old head off to the fridge or cooler and grab dad a beer but legal aged adults consuming cannabis…..oooooh my gosh, it’s the “devils lettuce” all over again.
With only days away until legalization, I can only encourage people to educate themselves on all things cannabis. We educate ourselves on where our food comes from and what’s in it, to where it’s grown and what it’s grown with, so why not with cannabis? It’s going to be legal, and it’s going to be something that needs to be talked about. You can guarantee that each and every one of us will be prescribed or try cannabis in some form going forward. Educate yourselves, so you can educate your children and hopefully, a new generation of people will emerge who understand that there are alternatives to medicine, materials as well as recreational entertainment that doesn’t have to include alcohol, abuse, pills, chemicals, addiction and death. Reefer madness is just that, Madness. Stop. Breathe. Educate. #cannabiseducaoniskey