Marijuana: It May Soon be Legal but Don’t Expect to find it readily available By next year marijuana will be a totally legal drug available to adults over the age of 19 years and will probably be sold under strict supervision in the LCBO or in pharmacies. But just because the government legalizes a product, does not mean that there are no controls on its use and distribution. In fact, in this country there are two sets of laws, one for the government and one for us, the people. The government runs a myriad of lotteries and we can all buy tickets. We can gamble at casinos and racetracks. Gambling is legal. Or is it? If you or I started our own lottery business, or if I put slot machines into my health food store, we are breaking the law and would be arrested. Alcohol is legal to all persons of legal drinking age. We can make our own wine and beer; however, we are not allowed to distill our own spirits. If we build a still in our backyard and start to make our own whiskey, we will be breaking the law and most likely be arrested. Personally, I feel that once marijuana is legalized, the price may be very high because of all the government taxes. Also we have a huge culture of people that are very adept at growing high quality marijuana plants. This means that there will probably be an underground black-market economy for marijuana for people who want to pay less money and probably get better quality. Of course all of this will be against the law, but so is the smuggling of cigarettes by our native Indians which is a multibillion dollar underground economy. So even with marijuana sales being legal, there will still be illegal sources of production and sale. Just last month, all the medical marijuana dispensaries in Toronto were shut down, because, even at this point in time there are restrictions on legal marijuana. You can get a prescription for this herb if you are a cancer victim, or suffering some type of severe pain or even glaucoma. However, you must buy it from the government and wait for your medical marijuana to arrive by Canada Post. Many people believe that if marijuana is made legal, you could grow your own and use it whenever you want. This is not the case. You will only be allowed to purchase it at controlled government outlets. Otherwise, just like alcohol and gambling you will be breaking the law and subject to arrest. Roadside Tests We have specific tests to determine if a driver of a car is impaired. Our limit for alcohol is 80mg of alcohol in 100 millimeters of blood. or 0.08. When I was writing this article I remembered an article about a pilot who was removed from his airplane because he was over the limit for alcohol consumption. It made me think—-what is the limit for pilots? It turns out that it is 0.04 and in my opinion it should be 0.00. Even though I enjoy a glass of wine with dinner, I never rode my motorcycle with a drop of alcohol in my body. Most conscientious bikers are like me because on a motorcycle you really must be extremely alert. Unfortunately, so far, we do not have a roadside test for marijuana. The police do have testing strips that measure the amount of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) in your saliva. This will indicate if you have ingested any marijuana cookies or smoked a joint in the last 4 hours. The problem is that it takes your liver 7 days to detoxify one medicinal dose. This means that if you ingested a marijuana cookie or brownie at night to help you sleep, you are still impaired the next day when you drive your automobile and no test will show it. Medical Value of Marijuana One thing we know for sure; this herb is a great natural pain reliever. It is so natural that every human brain has thousands of cannabinoid receptors, receptors specifically designed for cannabis from the marijuana plant. We also have cannabinoid receptors in our lungs, liver, kidney, skin and even in our immune system. It was as if our bodies were designed to receive this herb. In North America the largest cause of overdose death from drugs is prescription opiates. Not street drugs like heroin and cocaine but prescribed narcotics such as Percodan, Percocet, Oxycodone, Fentanyl ( the drug that Prince overdosed on) and Dilaudid. Legalizing Marijuana may be a way to get people addicted to these pain killers off these drugs which cause severe constipation, difficulty in breathing and severe wasting away of muscle because of appetite suppression. Cancer patients in severe pain are given these powerful narcotics for their pain and even though they relieve the pain, the cancer patient has no appetite, cannot move his bowls and can barely breathe. In fact in palliative care, the dose of narcotics is gradually increased until the patient can no longer breathe and then dies peacefully in a narcotic induced state. With marijuana, the pain is also reduced but the cancer patient has an appetite, can very easily move their bowels and have much higher spirits which can actually lead to recovery rather than a slow narcotic induced death. When Justin Trudeau and his Liberal government finally pass the legislation that makes marijuana legal and accessible to all Canadians, there will be still be restrictions on its sale and like alcohol or other drugs you should take responsibility when using it. It greatly slows down your reflexes so your ability to avoid a collision or get your foot on the brake may be severely reduced. It will be great for all of us to have the use of marijuana without penalty, but please be careful how you use it.