I had a good laugh when my 19-year-old daughter told me one day that she was waken up at 3 am by a phone call from one of her friends, asking her to deliver a pizza to his home. Despite her repeated explanations that he was calling a friend rather than a pizza store, he still sounded very baffled and couldn’t figure out why a pizza store refused to serve a customer.
“The information I collected later confirmed my speculation that he was on joint and got very high at the time,” my daughter told me.
But the story provides much more than a laughing material. As the federal government prepares to legalize marijuana, cannabis has come closer to my life than ever. It seems that the pungent smells and weed vapours from the sidewalks have increasingly invaded my living environment, ruining my afternoon stroll under the blue sky, adding some unpleasant experiences to my otherwise enjoyable days.
However, I may have become one of the billion population who wrongfully slapped a devil label on weed, the most controversial plant in the world. To most people with a Chinese background, cannabis is a synonym to opium, a far potent substance that started China’s century of humiliation and left millions of Chinese becoming drug addicts. The bitter collective memories have led the Chinese government to set on a stringent prohibition path, drafting draconian laws that brutally and indiscriminately crack down on any drug users, including those smoking marijuana.
中国去年开展的大规模打击吸毒运动采取在酒吧内进行随机毒品检测手段，并将娱乐业设为严打对象。11位名流在这场运动中被中国警方拘捕，从成龙的儿子房祖名（Jaycee Chan）到23岁的台湾演员高陈东（Ko Chen-tung）无一幸免。蒙特利尔马术多曾舞台秀（Cavalia）的两名魁北克员工因涉嫌吸食大麻而在中国酒店遭逮捕及被驱逐出境的惩罚。
In a sweeping crackdown on drugs last year, including random drug testing in bars and explicitly aiming at the entertainment industry, 11 celebrities have been detained by the Chinese police, from Jaycee Chan, the son of Jackie Chan to Ko Chen-tung, a 23-year-old Taiwanese actor. Two Quebec employees with the Montreal-based equestrian multimedia show Cavalia was imprisoned in China for allegedly smoking marijuana and are facing deportation.
But weed is no opium, cocaine or crystal mess, and shouldn’t lumped into the same category as opium. Until recent decades, the benefits of the plant have increasingly been recognized by the Western world, with many countries – including Canada – starting to legalize its use --- both for both medical and recreational purposes.
In fact, plenty of studies have shown the effectiveness of cannabis in treating a mess of disease – from helping to control seizures to preventing vision loss for glaucoma patients. More importantly, it is a green gold for those suffering from cancer. Cannabis helps cancer patients alleviate anxiety and spark an appetite, improving their quality by allowing them to eat full meals and sleep peacefully at night.
The surprising health benefits of weed has led many medical professionals to change their attitude towards it – including Dr. Sanjay Gupta, chief medical correspondent with CNN. In an article published in 2016, Dr. Gupta says through his research he found that despite some harmful effects on young minds, marijuana doesn’t have high potential for abuse, and seldom causes death from overdose. Apart from the medical wonders commonly known, weed is under study for its anti-cancer effects.
“We have been terribly and systematically misled (on weeds) for nearly 70 years in the United States, and I apologize for my own role in that,” he wrote.
Given the stunning stats that one in two Canadians would have cancer in their lifetime,
taking a hit of weed may become an inevitable experience for many people – including myself and my families. Marijuana will no longer be a devil but a lifesaver for us then.
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