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Letters, week of Dec. 23

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Legalized marijuana could hurt children

Sir: Re: The Dec. 17 article “Head shop business growing like a weed.”

What problem does pot legalization solve?

If the problem we are trying to solve as a nation is the reduction of marijuana use by youth, then legalizing recreational marijuana for an adult market could prove to be the wrong move and actually exacerbate the problem of high rates of use by minors.

Legalization is all about the supply of a recreational drug to adults, and anyone who thinks the illegal supply of marijuana will be meaningfully curtailed with legal commercialization has not kept up with the U.S. experiments, or given consideration to who makes up the bulk of the marijuana market – our kids.

With legalization, youth will still buy their drugs illegally but with the addition of another avenue to access.

The illegal market is not going anywhere, and with further normalization and greater access by adults, the illegal supply chain could be stimulated and grow. The illicit market in Colorado is reported to be booming.

Legalization fails to reduce demand, and it is demand that needs to be addressed because Canada already has the highest rate of marijuana use by youth in the industrialized world.

We cannot fail an entire generation with bad public health policy that puts the rights of a few to get temporarily intoxicated ahead of the rights of children – the right to be protected from narcotics use in the home and protected from predatory interests that would sell kids on pot.

Less than 10% of Canadian adults report using marijuana on a regular basis, whereas 30% to 53% (regions vary) of Canadian Grade 12 students say they are regular users.

Successful drug prevention messaging can counter the expectation that the use of narcotics is a normal and viable lifestyle choice, and aims to affect a reduction in demand for substances that have been found not safe for human consumption by scientific, evidence-based study.

The key to effective drug prevention is to curtail those who stand to prosper, economically or politically, by advancing the pro-pot position.

Less marijuana use benefits the whole of society. Legalization solves nothing.

Pamela McColl

SAM Canada – Smart Approaches to Marijuana Canada 

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May we never tire of being generous

Sir: Very few issues of the Journal or The Observer do not tell a story of someone in Sarnia-Lambton doing something helpful for someone else in this community. We are a community full of people who care about one another.

However, Peter Clarke (A Novel Proposal for Charities – Letters to the Editor, Dec. 10, 2015) is likely not the only person ‘charitied out’ with all the requests for donations, whether it’s an extra toonie at the cashier or a request for larger donations through slick marketing from early December till the end of tax return season.

Peter suggests the creation of ‘The Charity’ to do all the requesting for all the individual charities. We already have one of these – it’s called The United Way and it’s local.

I’ve found the best way to avoid feeling ‘charitied out’ is to involve yourself directly as a volunteer or committee member in a local charity close to your heart. There are many needs in Sarnia-Lambton that could use your energy, insight, enthusiasm and expertise.

Wondering whether a charity is legitimate or not? Check http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/chrts-gvng/lstngs/menu-eng.html

Wondering how to alleviate guilt with every request? Decide on a small number of charities you really care about and consistently donate as substantial an amount as you are able.

Consider whether the charity is providing a bandage for a problem that has other solutions, and find charities that work on systemic change, either through policy development, awareness raising, or activism.

Food banks, as necessary as they are, are essentially bandages providing food that cannot be purchased due to low wages or inadequate welfare rates. Donate to the food bank, but also donate to organizations that seek the necessary permanent changes.

There is a lot of brokenness and need in this world. Those who have enough and more than enough may at times feel ‘charitied out’ by all the requests.

Imagine, however, the fatigue that is felt by those who are confronted by having to choose whether to pay the rent or buy groceries for their children. May we never tire of being generous.

Thea deGroot

Sarnia

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A big ‘thank you’ for successful parade

Sir: The 2015 Santa Claus Parade of Lights is now in the past and we all look forward to a promising New Year. The theme for this year’s parade was “A Family Christmas,” which is a very important part of our society.

The Kinsmen Club of Sarnia wish to pay tribute to the hundreds of volunteers who took part in the building and decorating of the 40 floats, and to all the employers and groups who sponsored the float decorations.

To all the Sarnia-Lambton residents and companies that cover the expenses and travel costs to bring the various bands to Sarnia for your pleasure and entertainment.

To all the band participants who attend those early morning practice sessions before school to prepare for this event. The Christmas Music is such a big part of wishing everyone watching and listening “A Very Merry Christmas.”

The Kinsmen families would also like to wish you “Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.”

With everyone’s support in the coming year we look forward to bringing you the 2016 Kinsmen Santa Claus Parade of Lights on Saturday, Dec. 3, 2016, so you can mark your calendars!

Again, thanks for making this years parade a success.

Bob Marks,

Parade Chairman

Sarnia

 

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