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Fuel your tank — one way or another

Will medical marijuana be enough to ease Lee Hart's modern day stress

This 1932 photo of the Grainews ladies softball team, can suggest everything in life can go from one extreme to another. The real challenge is to find a balance.

One mission I am on this week is to get a prescription for medical marijuana so I can better cope with this struggling economy, or maybe I am worried about the terrorist threat that comes with allowing immigrants into Canada, or, man, have you seen the price of celery lately? … I don’t even want to go there. I am sure I can find something to raise my stress level enough to justify a prescription.

Without raining on the parade of any “cropping” operation, I was a bit surprised at recent business news reports about Loblaws (Super Store, No Frills, et al) considering getting licensed to sell medical marijuana in its network of 1,200 pharmacies (including Shoppers Drug Marts) across Canada.

The first question that came to mind is “how big a market is there for medical marijuana?” I was thinking there are a handful of special medical conditions in the country that can really benefit from smoking a joint. I guess I was wrong.

I knew one person years ago with a chronic, progressive and debilitating muscular atrophy disease and the only way they could deal with pain and relax their muscles was to smoke a joint. But that was in the days before medical marijuana, so for them finding comfort was an illegal operation.

I am not opposed to anyone using medical marijuana if it helps treat a valid medical condition. I had visions of anyone “having a bad day” lining up for a prescription, but I have learned it can be a necessary medication for side effects related to cancer treatments, help with pain control and ease muscle disorders. So far I haven’t seen it recommended as a stress relief medication.

But Canada’s new federal government appears intent on filling that aid-to-daily-living void, as Prime Minister Trudeau presses to eventually legalize marijuana. On one hand I think this is a bad idea — the proverbial slippery slope — and on the other hand I say why not? If anyone wants marijuana today I suspect it is not hard to find. I had one friend who had a home garden, personal-use, grow-op for years. If you don’t have a flowerpot to grow your own, I understand you only need ask any 15-year-old at the mall if they know of a dealer and you’ll soon be connected.

One can be too many

I am no temperance leader. I have been known to frequent the inside of a liquor store back in the day. I don’t have any problem with a person having a beer after work, or a relaxing Scotch over conversation, in fact have two. Great if you can handle it. But I also know there are way too many who can’t handle it. That first sip of an after-work beer can simply be the starting point of a horrible, lifetime experience for the person as well as family and friends of the alcoholic and addict. And smoking a joint doesn’t guarantee you’re spiralling toward being a heroin junkie or Fentanyl addict, but for those few in society it is all part of that great personal disception in thinking that “this can do no harm.”

I don’t believe that legalized recreatonal pot use is any worse than the existing and seemingly ever increasing access to taverns and liquor stores. (From the fact file, annual per capita consumption last year of Canadian and imported beer was 63.35 litres per person based on total population, and since I don’t drink obviously somebody got 126.7 litres.)

Legalizing marijuana may get a few dealers off the street but on the other end of the scale its not going to take any pressure off overcrowded battered-women shelters, backlogged court rooms, full jail cells, and long wait times at drug and alcohol detox and treatment centres. Hopefully as government revenues increase from another new sin tax, they heavily reinvest in repairing the damaged society it causes.

And that is my soap box message.

Time to buy a gas guzzler

And from the “boy I am getting old” file, does anyone else remember the panic over oil/energy shortages from last month. Oh, wait… that was the 1970s — it just seems like it was last month.

As I recently pulled into an Edmonton gas station where regular gas was selling for 57 cents and the radio news reported the on-going world oil glut, and a crumbling Canadian economy as thousands more workers were laid off, I had to think “what ever happened to the-world-is-ending oil shortage?” albeit it was a few years ago now.

But there was panic in the early ’70s. People were lining up for miles at gas stations to refill fuel tanks. The world was running out of oil. Did switching to those economical four-cylinder Japanese cars really fix the problem? The oil crisis of the 1970s was related more to the fact that Saudia Arabia flexed its muscle and turned off the oil tap supplying U.S. markets. But it caused a great panic over energy supplies, energy self-sufficiency, conservation measures, and more.

Fast forward a few decades and here we are again with Saudia Arabia (OPEC), flexing its muscles, this time with the message: “We’re going to keep producing oil, regardless of how low the price gets.” And I thought it was rich for Iran to declare it was keeping the tap cranked open as well. That country was dying under years of international trade sanctions imposed because of its aggressive nuclear policy. The U.S. agreed to lift sanctions a few weeks ago, Iran put away the bombs and cranks up its oil factory and says, “thanks, world, now we too will add 500 million barrels a day to the oil glut!” That’s a great sign of gratitude.

As a consumer it’s great. I love 60 and 70 cent gasoline prices. Unfortunately it also means the economy is in the tank — you can’t give the Canadian dollar away — so now my celery and a lot of other imported food is increasing in cost by 20 to 30 per cent. I may be stuck just eating Can­adian beef, pork and chicken until the snow melts and a new Canadian celery crop is planted.

And now with all these Syrian immigrants coming to Canada, how safe can I possibly be? To be honest watching the news reports of their bombed cities and homes, and the squallor of their refugee camps, and I realize that me coping with the high price of celery isn’t really a hardship. I’m glad Canada can offer refuge to some.

And when you look at world leaders the likes of Syrian president Bashar Hafez al-Assad, or potential leaders like Donald Trump, that young Mr. Trudeau doesn’t look like too bad a fellow. I’m in a pretty good place. And there, I talked just myself right out of needing a toke.

About the author

Field Editor

Lee Hart

Lee Hart is editor of Cattleman’s Corner based in Calgary.



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