We need more modern attitudes to marijuana

I get the impression that few people here know much about cannabis.

To the Editor,

Re: Pot shops had to be closed, Editorial, Dec. 3.

I’ve only lived in Nanaimo for a few years, but I get the impression that few people here know much about cannabis or the fact that humans have been using the plant for medical, spiritual, and social reasons for thousands of years.

The News Bulletin says it supports the police raids of local medical marijuana dispensaries because “they were dealing drugs” and not providing education and other trappings that come with legalization. I find this surprising, partly because I learned more about cannabis from medical marijuana dispensaries than I did from years of working as a writer at an addictions research office. (I had read and written about cannabis many times, but I didn’t really ‘get it’ until I got bone cancer and survived my first soul-crushing chemotherapy session. It turned out cannabis was the only drug that could stop me from throwing up and giving up, and it still helps with mood and bouts of debilitating fear.) Dispensary staff taught me which products and methods worked best for nausea, anxiety, mouth sores, and so on.

I’m a cannabis advocate today because the plant helped me survive cancer. But I also recognize its spiritual and recreational value. Of course, as with alcohol and other mind-altering drugs, it is better for young people to avoid using cannabis until their brains have fully developed (or at least not use too much or too often). But, for adults, let’s face it, the most harmful thing about using cannabis is probably the stigma that comes with it. And, problems with the law, for now anyway.

I hope our attitudes and behaviours change when the plant is legalized.

Nicole BodnerNanaimo

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