My latest editorial for Kindersleysocial.ca – March 15, 2018 issue

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Cannabis and Me

My Grandmother was a faithful member of the Kindersley chapter of the WCTU. Most of you will have no idea of what WCTU stands for. Let’s just say politics, women’s rights, social equality, all were a part of the WCTU. This movement has been branded as the first women’s rights movement in Canada.

As the Canadianencyclopedia.ca explains: “The Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) . . . [believed] that alcohol abuse was the cause of unemployment, disease, sex work, poverty, violence against women and children, and immorality, the WCTU campaigned for the legal prohibition of all alcoholic beverages.”

Alcohol?? In the 21st Century, that sounds like a non-starter!

Now that Cannabis (we used to call it marijuana) is about to be legalized, I think I’m a step closer to understanding her passion to limit a social ill!

This past decade I sat on a community committee called KDAWN. Membership over the years included social workers, RCMP, town administration, ministerial and other interested individuals and agencies. We cooperated with the P.A.R.T.Y. program (a secondary school educational program dealing with alcohol), sought to find a way to bring a drug and alcohol rehab center to Kindersley area, and provided educational resources and events regarding drugs and alcohol.

If I didn’t realize the depths of the problem before joining KDAWN, I was soon filled in. While alcohol has been regulated for some time, the social cost has been enormous. While some drugs have been illegal, and others (such as cigarettes) have been legal, the social cost has been enormous.

An attempt to restrict drugs and alcohol in relation to children/youth has met with mixed results. While we claim that this age bracket is too easily influenced and unable to responsibly partake, adults have sometimes served as poor role models! Maybe the adults need to be regulated more stringently as well.

In a recent email circulated to the Kindersley Town Council, I addressed the issue of cannabis. I understand the Council would like to have others provide feedback.

In my email I asked that, while medical cannabis has a place in pain management, the recreational use of cannabis has been documented as harmful to our society (and the second hand smoke has much the same effect as cigarette smoke). I do not think we need a dispensary for recreational use of cannabis in our town – and if individual grow-operations are allowed by the legislation, let’s find ways to make sure both regulation and enforcement are sufficient to restrict harm to our citizenry. Finally, I suggested that the Town Council consider proclaiming a day of mourning for those whose lives are adversely affected by drug and alcohol addictions.

And here I thought Grandma was merely “pushing against” alcohol use. Some will think I’m merely “pushing against” cannabis use.

The truth is, I’m “pushing for”! For a citizenry who are seeking to live healthy lives. For a culture where the heart is set on loving others and not harming them. For an opportunity to be an example, as a region, that we not only seek harm reduction and rehabilitation for those who are addicted, but that we want to be proactive in producing a citizenry whose heart is set on the good of all and not just the pleasure of the individual.