“Cannabis is Canada’s moment to lead the world” declares Peter Shier in last Friday’s edition of the Globe and Mail.
So far as lofty ideals go, one would be hard-pressed to conceive of a “higher” quest.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has gallantly plucked this moment, this single fragrant grain, from the giant hourglass of history to forever define the “leadership” of our magnificent nation.
Move over Mahatma Ghandi. Make room, Nelson Mandela, and shuffle to the left, Winston Churchill. Hark, John F. Kennedy, as Mr. Trudeau prepares to join the storied Pantheon of the Greatest Leaders of All Time.
Take a minute or two, dear reader, to revisit President Kennedy’s famous moonshot speech; and then, for equal but home-grown modern-day inspiration, modify it thusly:
“But why, some say, marijuana? Why choose this as our goal? And they may well ask, why climb the highest mountain? Why, 90 years ago, fly the Atlantic? Why does Calgary play Edmonton?
We choose to get high! We choose to legalize marijuana in this decade, not because it is easy, but because it is hard; because that goal will serve to pacify and to sedate our youth, to renovate their minds, to restrain the best of their energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one we intend to win!”
This is Canada’s moonshot, as we boldly go where only Uruguay has gone before, in a grand push to normalize marijuana use for all our people. And make no mistake, normalizing pot use is precisely what we are doing, using a Trojan horse of legalization (for adults only!) to make it so.
The Canadian Medical Association, the Canadian Psychiatric Society, and the Canadian Pediatric Society, after jointly and limply ceding the legalization ground to our government as a fait accompli, have been reduced to plaintively offering modifications to the Liberal’s madcap scheme, their advisements generally and casually ignored in the sprint to profits.
As for Mr. Shier, his exuberance is understandable – as president of noted advertising agency Naked Creative Consultancy, he is set to feast on a rich banquet of opportunity. “As wine is to France and whisky is to Scotland, let cannabis be to Canada,”, he writes, positively salivating over the branding prospects offered up by Island Sweet Skunk, God Bud, Mountain Jam, Timewarp and their aromatic relatives.
Why our government does not instead simply decriminalize marijuana (along with all other drugs of abuse), to avoid normalizing its use and to avoid saddling our youth with criminal penalties for mere pot possession, remains a mystery to me and to most of my colleagues. But we are merely medical men and women: it is surely hubris on my part to expect that our opinions regarding the many and proven dangers of marijuana use be taken with seriousness.
Perhaps best to leave these weighty things for future historians to debate.
Meanwhile, in the interests of sturdily and prominently planting this weedy moment in the vast field of history, so that it may achieve the height and majesty it deserves, and thus be gazed upon with unrivaled awe and admiration from many generations hence, I turn for inspiration to one of my stoner friends. Although too afflicted by pot-induced laziness to be overly original, he offers this pearl of euphoric wisdom:
“One small toke for man, one giant doobie for mankind.”
But allow me a final small observation. The most transcendent of pot-induced highs will not release us from this inescapable fact: so long as we are confined by the gravitational laws of this planet, what goes up must most assuredly come down.
And I, for one, predict a very hard landing for the Canadian people, and especially for our youth.