Letter: Other views

Legalization of marijuana not the answer says RCMP Cpl. Hilderley

It appears as though a few people have taken exception to my suggestion that we abandon talk of legalizing marijuana and dedicate ourselves to the development of our community’s kids so that they can go on and fulfill their potential.  It’s a shame that a such a small minority (albeit very vocal minority) of our population are pouring so much energy into pushing for the legalization of this harmful substance.

We know that the overwhelming majority of people in Sooke do not use marijuana. We know that most families don’t sit around the dinner table chasing their pork roast with a joint. We know that they don’t pass a bong around Ayre Manor, nor do they encourage kids to smoke marijuana at any of our great learning institutions in Sooke. This is a community that has invested in protecting the future of our youth by encouraging them to make smart, healthy choices, and we are better as a result.

Yes, there is a small percentage of the population who have been diagnosed with such terrible debilitating ailments that physicians have seen fit to prescribe marijuana to help battle pain or stimulate appetite.  My heart bleeds for these folks, that their quality of life has deteriorated to the point where the use of this substance is necessary, but when I’ve had discussions with some of them, even they have said that they do not wish for marijuana to be legal for any other non-medicinal reason.

Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but everyone is not entitled to their own facts. Marijuana has been proven to have over 400 chemicals, negatively effect the immune system, the respiratory system, and impair judgement and coordination (http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/evidence99/marijuana/Health_1.html).  Studies are now linking marijuana use to a variety of mental disorders including acute toxic psychosis, delusions, panic attacks, depersonalization and paranoia… which may help to explain the accusation that marijuana prohibition is a giant police-led government conspiracy to keep us employed. Anybody who has ever had intimate knowledge of what a front line police officer does would never say such a thing.

I would love to subscribe to the notion that organized crime could be eliminated simply by legalizing marijuana, but the truth is that it wouldn’t matter. A great deal of the trafficking done by the organized crime element takes place with international partners, and would continue to thrive regardless of the legal status of marijuana here at home. And they don’t stop with marijuana.  Ecstasy, cocaine, heroin, meth, and whatever drug is waiting to be invented in the future. They would get it to our kids without blinking a self conscious eye, unless our kids were supported in making smart decisions. The answer is not found in legalizing everything.

I visited the “LEAP” (Law Enforcement Against Prohibition) website, and one of the first things that you read is that they believe that ALL drugs should be legalized. “Educators for Sensible Drug Policy” feel the same way. I understand that this is a tiny group of law enforcement officials and educators who feel beaten down by the horrors they’ve seen as a result of drug use. I have felt that way at times myself.  After 26 years of policing, my head is full of horrific memories relating to drug abuse (marijuana included) that could have been avoided with smart decision making.  But the answer is not to give up.  If we all devoted our energy to helping our kids make healthy choices, then our world would be a better place.

We’re fortunate here in Sooke, because so many are already working on this, and I give my heartfelt thanks to the countless men, women and families who continue to do this. I would also like to thank the many who have e-mailed me with their support (scott.hilderley@rcmp-grc.gc.ca) and I welcome contact from anyone who would like to discuss other opportunities to help our kids thrive.

 

Cpl. Scott Hilderley

RCMP Drugs and Organized Crime Awareness Service