Letters of the week – April 7

Rail and marijuana sparked letters to the editor in Alberni this week.

Train needs senior gov’t commitment

To the Editor,

Re: Get this train moving or pull funding, Editorial, March 29.

I was befuddled when I saw your latest editorial on the railway, “Get this train moving or pull funding”. No train is moving if there is no money put forward first. So the threat is self-fulfilling.

That said, at the annual Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities conference taking place in Nanaimo from April 8–10, I will be speaking for a motion brought forward by the City of Port Alberni that urges the final holdout, the federal government, to stop delaying and release the funding.

It was communities on this Island that first committed to fund that rebuilding and yet, five years later, we still wait for senior government. We cannot blame those along the corridor for getting tired and impatient, but it is my hope that we will be able to come together again as neighbours to force the new federal government to relent and finally see this project get started.

Chris Alemany,

Port Alberni

Stance on marijuana ‘naive’

To the Editor,

Credit must be given to Mayor Mike Ruttan for voting “no” to medical dispensaries in Port Alberni.

The legalization of marijuana in Canada, while long overdue, is far more complex than most people understand.

It’s well known that obtaining marijuana “legally” is easier than it has ever been. Canada has given out thousands of medical licenses and these have gone essentially unregulated. In fact, it is easier for teens to obtain marijuana than alcohol.

It is also extremely naive for people to think that once it is legalized, everything will be fine and we can all settle into a mellow, Bob Marley kind of existence in our own homes.

Marijuana does not cause the violence or abuse that alcohol does and people who use daily can appear to have very normal functioning lives.

However, it is really naive to think it is not a drug, like any other drug. For many, it is a way of coping with life, anxiety and stress. It is also regularly combined with alcohol.

People become psychologically addicted to marijuana and unnecessarily spend money that they don’t really have on it.

Port Alberni has an above average number of substance abuse issues. Marijuana and alcohol are prevalent in our schools and marijuana use is rumoured to start at 12 years of age.

Substance abuse and poverty are tied. Substance abuse and mental health issues are tied. All of these issues are a big part of our downtown core. Dispensaries do not particularly help our downtown that struggles with both an  “image” and everyday reality of substance abuse and poverty.

The prohibition of alcohol never worked. Marijuana should be legalized. But our legal framework must be well thought out.

Medical marijuana for cancer or epilepsy is likely a legitimate treatment. A returning soldier with PTSD smoking 10 joints a day is not helping his life in any constructive way.

Marijuana access for teens with developing brains should not be easy. Parents have enough issues to deal with raising teens.

Having licensed dispensaries in Port Alberni before the legalization framework is well thought out is not progressive policy.

Brent Stoll,

Port Alberni

Keep to the truth about marijuana

To the Editor,

It’s commendable to keep youth away from drugs (From “Yes 2 Know”, March 24), however, parents should closely monitor RCMP Drug Awareness programs to insure their children receive the truth, which is the most important component to protecting kids from drug use.

DARE has been eliminated in most school districts because government statistics prove it’s not only a failure but it may be causing more drug use than no anti-drug program at all.

How many citizens tried cannabis and found it to be safer than what DARE claimed and believed other substances must not be so bad either, only to find them addicted to hard drugs?

That’s one reason North America is experiencing increased heroin addiction and death rates.

A sane or moral argument to continue to lie about cannabis doesn’t exist.

Stan White,

Dillon, Colorado

 

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