Legal pot could mean users ‘won’t be ashamed of it’

Hot Box Café, a Kensington Market spot known to permit cannabis consumption. (Photo: Edward Hitchins) Hot Box Café, a Kensington Market spot known to permit cannabis consumption. (Photo: Edward Hitchins)

Edward Hitchins
Life Reporter

When it comes to relaxing from the pressures of class on the weekend, Tyler Stoddart (not his name) is pretty adamant on what helps him out.

“I love to smoke weed,” said the first-year business administration student at Humber. “The release it gives me, it allows me to forget about stress.”

Stoddart said he is a habitual smoker. The 19-year-old said he tried marijuana for the first time about four years ago.

He suggests that Justin Trudeau influenced his decision to head to the ballot box. “I believe that Mr. Trudeau is bringing about positive change in this country,” said Stoddart.

Among the campaign promises by Trudeau during the federal election campaign was to seek legalization of the recreational use of cannabis.

With the Liberals winning a healthy majority, focus has shifted to that particular campaign vow, which is a steep contrast to the anti-drug stance of former Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

While it appears the tides are turning with legalization in U.S. states such as Washington and Colorado, not everybody seems to be on board with the possibility in this country.

One Humber first-year business management student isn’t sure what it would mean in terms of addiction.

“I know there are health benefits to pot, but legalization is a very dangerous thing. It could make people ignore their jobs and responsibilities,” said the student, who asked not to be identified.

Sam Tehai, a university student from the United States, thinks it is time Canada came out of what he calls the “dark ages”.

“The age of pot smoking is here,” said Tehai at the Hot Box Café, a Kensington Market spot known to permit cannabis consumption. “People from all walks (of life) smoke. So why punish them for something they enjoy?”

John Smith, proprietor and owner of The Dragon Smoke Session Depot on Yonge Street, thinks it is about time Canada embraced the benefits of pot, with the country having a recreational counterculture industry that according to some statistics generates about $5 billion a year.

“I think you’ll see an immediate uplift in terms of dollars. Something that was solely considered illegal and recreational, just like the US states will now be legal.” said Smith.

“A lot of the negative attitude toward cannabis was dogma and a generation of misinformation,” he said. “The same doctors who were claiming it was dangerous are now embracing the health benefits.  I guarantee there will be lineups around the doors of people who want to try it, people who are interested.”

That’s certainly a statement that Stoddart can agree with.

“People think stoners are just lazy,” said Stoddart. “They don’t understand there are professionals like doctors and lawyers with well-paying jobs that use weed as well. Perhaps if it is legalized, they won’t be ashamed of it. They’ll be allowed to relax and smoke a joint in peace.”

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