WINNIPEG —; The thought of legalizing marijuana can be scary for some but others say it’s about time, suggesting it’s done successfully elsewhere so why not here.
Ian Rabb doesn’t agree. He knows what it’s like to hit rock bottom.
“On the street in Denver, Colorado with a needle in my arm.”
At 16, he started smoking marijuana and quickly moved to harder drugs.
“Did I think that was going to happen when I tried marijuana? I knew when I tried marijuana I liked it and wanted more of it,” said Rabb.
14 years clean, he now spends his time helping addicts and runs drug treatment centres in Winnipeg and Gimli, but worries he’ll get even busier, when marijuana is legalized in Canada.
It was one of Justin Trudeau’s election promises.
“The Liberal party is committed to legalizing and regulating marijuana,” said Trudeau during a campaign stop on September 30th, “controlling it in a way that it will protect our kids and remove criminal elements from it and we’re going to get started on that right away.”
Rabb says he’s not against de-criminalizing it, but doesn’t want it legalized.
“It is a gateway drug,” said Rabb. “I think it sends a bad message to our youth that it is available like alcohol on some levels.”
Steven Stairs grows and uses marijuana daily. He says it helps control the pain from his cataracts and if it was legalized he says it would be easier for him to get.
“It allows the option for me, lets say I don’t have anything growing for example, I can go and just purchase it now instead of worrying about finding a medical source,” said Stairs.
Marijuana is legal in Colorado, Washington, Oregan and Alaska.
Frank Cormier, a Criminology Professor at the University of Manitoba says it would have to be heavily regulated.
“The most common model to compare it to would be the sale of tobacco or the sale of alcohol so the government would have some role in it, the production, the distribution, the sale and taxation importantly,” said Cormier, who says it would also be bad news for the drug trade, “taking away such a big profit area for organized criminals would probably tend to weaken them overall.”
When it is legalized, Rabb just hopes the tax dollars made go into addiction treatment programs.
“We have to have services that are readily available for people that get addicted.”
Trudeau hasn’t said when he’ll legalize marijuana or what that process will be. He has said he’ll work with the provinces to deal with concerns.