Saturday, October 10, 2015

Get Them Young by Pamela McColl


Pam McColl is a well known advocate in the fight to resist the normalization of marijuana. She is the spokesperson for SAM CANADA, Smart Approaches to Marijuana, which proposes neither incarceration nor legalization, but a reasonable and healthy policy in between those two extremes.

The Liberal Party of Canada has decidedly inflamed the marijuana debate to excite young adult voters and an electorate who have bought hook, line and sinker into the propaganda that marijuana is safer than alcohol or tobacco.

Those that argue that tobacco is far worse should be asking why it is that the Liberal Party did not take on the tobacco industry, or the Conservative Government’s record on tobacco control. 

If tobacco is the true public villain why is it that the Liberal Party has remained silent on he biggest drain on Canada's health care costs and a product that kills one in five Canadians. 

Where is the Liberal Party of Canada on the pending action to take on tobacco for $100 billion in damages? Why talk of running a $10 billion deficit when $100 billion is sitting there waiting for this country to collect off tobacco, making a true difference in the lives of Canadians and saving our public health care system tremendously? 

The NDP say they will not agree to the ratification of the TPP which includes long fought for measures to curtain the tobacco industry, a major victory for public health and could positively impact Canada's ability to collect the $100 billion, bringing the tobacco industry to its knees. The USA Government claimed and received $247 billion in the Master Settlement of 1998.  

Liberal marijuana policy would see those who give marijuana to kids receive more severe penalties at an increase cost of law enforcement and hardship to families. It is a policy position that would increase the punitive nature of marijuana control. 23% of kids report receiving marijuana from a parent. What would the Liberal Party do with these parents found to be offering marijuana to their kids, surely not put them in prison ? How would they enforce their policies ? Between 30-53%, region dependent, grade 12 students in this country report regularly using marijuana. That makes for a great many parents facing harsh consequences considering they have been grossly misinformed. Many hold to the belief that marijuana is a safer choice, some even accepting the preposterous idea that it is an "exit drug".   

The way to reduce the rate of use marijuana is to either embark on a massive education campaign to effect a reduction in the demand for this psychotropic drug, or the other option is we wait until the damage becomes abundantly apparent and the public elects representatives who will be charged with correcting the problem. 

Entrenching use by adopting legalization with further normalization would be a gross mistake. It would serve only a small elite of adult users while allowing for predatory Big Pot to industrialize marijuana cigarettes. There will be no easy retreat. We continue to struggle to curtail the advance of tobacco or alcohol from reaching out to and securing the youth market to this day. 

The current youth market for marijuana is 2.5 times that for adults. Legalization addresses supply for the adult market, a small elite of less than 10% of the Canadian population. It
fails completely to address a reduction in demand.  

We are in a fight to defend our children’s brains. In this context it becomes a human rights battle and sadly both opposition parties blew the opportunity to offer up sound public health policies on this crucially important issue.

Pamela McColl


  1. 100% you can quit smoking cigarettes using cannabis.

  2. New information that recently came my way:
    During the 1980s, Paul Martin was one of five members of the Executive Committee of Imasco, a British American Tobacco subsidiary which owns 100% of Imperial Tobacco. Imperial currently boasts 70% of Canada's cigarette market.

    After resigning from Imasco to run for Parliament in 1988, his work for Imasco didn't stop. One of Martin's first acts after becoming Finance Minister in 1993 was to slash federal tobacco taxes and to strong-arm provinces to do the same, which cut cigarette prices in half in Eastern Canada in February of 1994, and nearly doubled youth smoking rates in those provinces. Rates in Western Canada, where prices were maintained, remained stable. Martin claimed that the tax cut was necessary to reduce cigarette smuggling, although it's now known that RJR-Macdonald and Martin's Imperial Tobacco orchestrated most of that smuggling.

    In 1998, Martin torpedoed a complete tobacco-sponsorship advertising ban just days before then-Federal Health Minister Allan Rock was to give a press conference announcing it. And Martin also killed bills by Senator Colin Kenny to emulate what California did to reduce its youth smoking rate to a third of Canada's.

    Follow the money - how much did the pot lobby and the tobacco lobby finance the Liberal Campaign of 2015 ? We want and deserve to know.