In view of the ongoing discussions about the decriminalization, and ultimately the legalization of marijuana, I cannot help but see an important casualty in this battle that has received little attention: young children.
Children do not get to choose their parents, social standing, living conditions, food allocation, educational opportunities or personal safety boundaries to name just a few. Children are dependent on their parents and so it should be.
Most parents try to nurture and provide for their children and generally will do what they can to see their children grow and be prepared to face the life ahead of them.
What does this have to do with the marijuana issue? Well, quite frankly, a lot of people would have us believe that marijuana is a non-issue, a mere herb that some enjoy recreationally to deal with the stresses of life or just to enjoy a “natural wholesome high”.
Proponents of the legalization of marijuana have been able to sell marijuana as something that should be embraced as progressive and its use should be left in the arena of personal choice, and certainly not be scrutinized by authorities. After all, it’s only pot and even political leaders have tried it.
That may sound fine and it is working to sway the opinion of many to be sympathetic to the cause. This is, however, a poor representation of the complete picture.
In my years in the field of law enforcement I have yet to see the upside of marijuana use. Marijuana is addictive, impairing and expensive. The negative physiological impacts of the drug have been scientifically well documented and I am too familiar with its fallout in the lives of people, especially children.
Many are helpless to escape the second-hand smoke that affects them. But that is just the beginning. Not only is their brain development negatively affected by the second-hand smoke, but they are lacking in the food department. It costs money, money that is not spent on groceries for the kids and consequently the little ones go without, or are stuck with poor nutrition.
And there is a dark upside to little Johnny not making it to the soccer field on a weekend morning because I would not want to see a stoned parent or caregiver operating a vehicle with him in it, something that happens often for some young ones. They can’t say “Hey, I don’t want to be in the car with you driving, your reactions and perceptions are off”. So the little ones soldier on.
In my job, one of the most difficult things is to see children suffer for reasons far beyond their control. I have been to many houses where liquor and drug addiction have turned their home from a place of refuge and nurture into a place to be escaped and survived. Children deserve better.
To think that the tax revenue generated by legalizing marijuana will somehow outweigh the price paid by the children negatively impacted by yet another addictive impairing substance is brutal.
For sure more people will smoke and become addicted to marijuana should it be legalized. This will mean that more children will be adversely affected. How good are the parenting skills of stoned adults? Probably not very.
The old saying “drugs are not bad because they are illegal, they are illegal because they are bad” has never been more true.
From a police officer in the BC, name withheld by request.
VING Newsmedia Group