Opinion

Revenge of the comment section: Pot will be legal, the sky will not fall

Commenters largely applaud the new impaired driving measures, but many are split on the virtues of legalized marijuana.
Many commenters say the new marijuana legislation isn't anything to worry about, while others aren't so sure. (Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press)

On Thursday, the Liberals finally tabled the long-awaited legislation to legalize marijuana in Canada. The government announced two bills: one that will regulate the recreational use of the of the drug, prohibiting sales to Canadians under 18 years old and rolling out 14-year maximum penalties for anyone who sells to minors.

The second bill deals with impaired driving, outlining harsher penalties and expanded police powers. Commenters largely applaud the new impaired driving measures, but many are split on the virtues of legalized marijuana. 

A step too far

We didn't need this. Decriminalization maybe, but not this.

Roderick James

Don't worry

The thing about legalizing pot and having to worry about impaired driving or more addicts is, in fact, nothing to worry about at all. The people who now smoke will continue (because anyone who likes it is already doing it) and I really doubt there will be a huge influx of new smokers.

- Rob Munson

Look to the provinces

Many of the questions I've seen people ask are outlined in the act, so there isn't a lot missing. Obviously, a lot of the nitty gritty will be up to provinces, so like they say: the devil is in the details.

If the provinces are smart, they'll have all their ducks in a row by the time this becomes legal. That way, they won't lose tax money from lots of people growing or buying from elsewhere.

Robert Borden

Bad timing

They should have waited a week, until 4/20.

Rory Bellows

Drunk driving clampdown overdue

The clamping down on impaired driving is so past due. Among 19 high-income countries, Canada's drunk driving death rate is the worst by far. Thirty four per cent of all motor vehicle deaths in Canada are alcohol-related. Unimaginable carnage.

Terrza LaBonte

Parents being parents

As a father of four children, I was always extremely concerned about drugs. My kids are all grown up now and amazing people.

As parents, we want the best for our children and want them to be as healthy as possible. Some say that marijuana is a gateway drug, and can prove their point. Others say that this is not that serious of a drug and they can prove their point. For those who are concerned about marijuana and their children, they are absolutely entitled to be afraid for their wellbeing.

That's their responsibility and there is nothing that is closer to parents' hearts than their children. It's not fear mongering or being paranoid — it's just parents being parents.

Andy Steinbach

Huh?

The law "prohibits tourists from bringing pot past the border, but allows them to use pot while in Canada."

What's with this? If pot's legal in Washington state (just as an example) and pot's legal in Canada, why can't people cross the border between Washington state and Canada with pot? There should be limits, just as with alcohol and cigarettes, but a total ban doesn't make sense.

SarahRose Werner

Legislate good parenting

How will this bill keep pot out of the hands of children? It won't. Drugs are kept out of the hands of children by one thing only: good parenting.

Michael MacKecknie

​The sky is not falling

I'm reading all the uninformed postings by those opposed to marijuana on what appear to be moral grounds and can only think: the sky is not falling. There will be little different in the daily life of Canadians once the use of pot is legalized. 

When I was a youth, if you didn't smoke pot on occasion, you were in the minority. No legislation will effectively limit access if we really want to imbibe, so I applaud the government's decision to get real and stop criminalizing and incarcerating people for enjoying an occasional buzz. Otherwise, shall we also close the casinos and liquor stores, ban fast foods and let the underworld supply us with our chosen vices?

- Michael Mosher

​Change alcohol laws, too?

Are they going to amend the laws so that those selling cigarettes and alcohol to minors face 14 years in prison, too? If they want to make weed like booze and cigarettes and the idea is to keep it out of the hands of minors, then why not? 

- Chuck Summers

Tougher penalties

Glad to see tougher penalties for impaired drivers. They are sure going to be needed once the potheads hit the road.

Gary McCaig

False impairment charges

"The new impaired driving bill creates three new offences and gives police authority to require saliva tests for drivers suspected of being high. Police can administer a test based on signs such as red eyes or the smell of pot."

So many innocent drivers are going to get caught up with false impairment charges now. There is no science behind it. The levels of thc and its metabolites cannot predict impairment. Blood alcohol levels are different — you can accurately predict impairment level.

People who haven't even smoked up that day are now potentially looking at driving impairment charges.

I am not condoning people to drive high. I am saying it needs to be treated similar to the way we treat tired driving. So I hope when officers demand these tests, it's for a good reason.

Peter Parker

What about workplace safety?

Workplace safety issues will be a real problem, as there's no definitive test like the breathalyzer for marijuana impairment. I personally think until there is such a method, it's too soon.

George Hansen

Comments have been edited for length and clarity.

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