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Alcohol, tobacco just as 'harmful' as marijuana: THE INSTRUCTOR

Johnny Glanville - Special to the Examiner

According to a post on Nov. 26, 2011 by the Drug Prevention Network of Canada, alcohol kills 9,000 people a year while smoking kills 37,000, with absolutely no mention of deaths attributed to marijuana use.

One of DPNC's spokespeople, Gwen Landolt, was on CBC radio last week saying in reference to all elicit drugs (marijuana included) that, "Taking drugs ends up inevitably in death and also a terrifying death."

She was promoting a zero-tolerance and complete abstinence approach to end drug use.

Over the holidays, I volunteered wrapping gifts at the Bayfield Mall in support of epilepsy awareness since one of my close friends is a sufferer. It was there I found out that many of those with epilepsy depend on marijuana for medicinal purposes. In fact, my friend just recently was approved to receive 90 grams monthly, mailed directly to his front door.

For those who aren't sure how much that is, it's about five joints a day.

If I were to believe what Landolt said on the CBC, should I then assume that my pal will suffer an inevitable and terrifying death because of the prescribed medicine he receives in the mail from our government? This makes Health Canada sound as bad as Ted Kaczynski mailing packages of doom to his victims from his cabin in Montana.

Upon searching, I couldn't find a figure in Canada, or elsewhere, to support the inevitable and terrifying death comment in relation to marijuana use.

In fact, I came up with very little in terms of death at all attributed to marijuana use.

However, let me be crystal clear by saying, although it doesn't always lead to death is not to say it's not potentially dangerous.

The Canadian Association of Mental Health states that large doses of marijuana can lead to "toxic psychosis."

This can cause people to hallucinate, become paranoid and believe things that aren't true, which can lead to a terrifying death, but still nothing to suggest an inevitable, terrifying death will occur for every user.

It's very important to understand that 'can' and 'will' have two very different meanings.

I suppose alcohol, tobacco and marijuana should all be illegal since they've been connected to illness, death and/or criminal behaviour. But since booze and smokes aren't illegal, it makes little sense marijuana is.

Isn't being drunk way more dangerous than being stoned? Of the two drugs, alcohol and marijuana, why is the one with the calming effect the illegal one?

People on both sides of the marijuana legalization debate have good intentions, and although I believe weed should be legal, I don't know how to solve the argument.

Unless, of course, every person who has ever smoked a fatty actually did die an inevitable and terrifying death, that would solve it.

Johnny Glanville is a tennis instructor and a freelancer writer living in Barrie.

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