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Marijuana Use Among Authority Figures


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CN ON: Editorial: Marijuana Use Among Authority Figures

 

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URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v13/n430/a09.html

Newshawk: http://www.facebook.com/EFSDP

Votes: 0

Pubdate: Sat, 24 Aug 2013

Source: Niagara Falls Review, The (CN ON)

Copyright: 2013 Niagara Falls Review

Contact: http://www.niagarafallsreview.ca/letters

Website: http://www.niagarafallsreview.ca

Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/2907

Author: Peter Epp

 

MARIJUANA USE AMONG AUTHORITY FIGURES

 

Justin Trudeau may have overplayed his hand this week when he admitted in an interview that he has smoked marijuana since being elected MP.

 

While Canadians' attitudes toward marijuana use have greatly shifted in the past 10 years, with many believing that use should be decriminalized, those same folks may be uncomfortable with the idea that people invested with a measure of authority - surgeons, bankers, judges, school principals and police officers...  and perhaps even Members of Parliament - would use marijuana.  They'd be even more uncomfortable if that use was publicly admitted.

 

And so Canada's federal leader is taking a bit of a risk, entering into uncharted political waters.  Only a few weeks ago, he announced he would be in favour of marijuana's decriminalization.  And his admission to using the narcotic since election as MP was obviously in response to a supplementary question from a reporter, based on earlier comments about decriminalization.

 

Trudeau's views on decriminalization make sense on a few levels.  Even Canada's police chiefs appear to agree...  somewhat.  Earlier this week, while meeting in Winnipeg, police chief delegates agreed to a resolution that would seek marijuana's decriminalization, to the point that offenders of marijuana drug laws would be issued a fine, just like a speeding ticket, rather than having to make a formal court appearance.

 

The chiefs' resolution comes from a practical perspective.  It's more cost-effective to issue a speeding ticket to a motorist than to drag that same motorist into a courtroom, while tying up the arresting officer's time.  Ditto for marijuana use.  But marijuana use would still be illegal, just as driving a vehicle too fast is illegal.

 

We don't know if Justin Trudeau has been driving too fast since being elected MP.  Most of us stand convicted of that periodic offence.  But the fact that he used marijuana since being elected to federal office isn't as easy to forget, nor easy to put aside.

 

Even Bill Clinton, a master of the political game, had to be careful when asked the same question while seeking the U.S.  presidency.  Clinton admitted he had "tried marijuana", but...  incredulously...  said he never inhaled.  Nobody believed him then, and given his later sexual episode with a White House intern ( which Clinton claimed didn't involve sexual intimacy ), his denials about the inhalation of marijuana smoke became all the more suspect.

 

For those who suggest there exists a double-standard...  well, there is.  We expect our elected politicians to lead lives of quiet decorum.  We expect them to not steal from the public, to remain faithful to their spouse, and to maintain good judgement about their public and private conduct.

 

Even Clinton recognized that he was dangerously close to exceeding the limits of public acceptance when asked about his marijuana use.  Perhaps we're beyond that today, but perhaps we're not. 

MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom

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