Tag Archives: tobacco

Opportunity or Catastrophe? Weighing in on the Upcoming Legalization of Pot in Canada

Legalizing recreational marijuana was part of Justin Trudeau’s election campaign platform, but it wasn’t something many people took seriously. What with the common mistrust of politicians and the opposition of the very powerful Hell’s Angels gang, who stand to lose a lot of revenue if pot becomes legal, it was hard to take Trudeau’s proposition seriously.

That’s why I was surprised to hear that the Federal Health Minister had announced plans to legalize marijuana by 2017. CBC’s recent episode of Cross Country Checkup gave Canadians an opportunity to respond with a few of their thoughts on the new legislation. Many of the callers brought some great points to my attention, some of which I’ve touched on below. However, it was apparent that some callers were still buying into weed propaganda, from exaggerated health benefits to exaggerated threats. For this post I decided to pull together a few of the best arguments I’ve heard from both camps and try to find at least a little research to support their claims.

Pros of Legalization

1. Legalization could reduce an unnecessary drain on police resources

Cannabis related offences are the most common type of drug offence in Canada, especially here in British Columbia.

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Source: Statistics Canada, Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, Aggregate Uniform Crime Reporting Survey.

According to Stats Canada, “in 2012, 43% of Canadians reported that they had used marijuana at some time in their lives, and 12% reported using it in the past year”. That means half of all Canadians could have been charged with possession at one time or another. Although in some places police will turn a blind eye to mere pot possession, there are still a significant number of cases reported by police. CBC explains that 

there were 57,314 marijuana possession-related “incidents” reported by police nationwide, according to Statistics Canada. More than 24,540 people were charged as a result. The year before that, 25,819 Canadians faced charges.

What’s disconcerting about this grey area of crime is that police can often use their discretion when it comes to actually prosecuting an offence. According to a recent CBC News analysis, where you live can affect if you will be charged. They report that “you’re almost 23 times more likely to face a possession charge in Kelowna, B.C., than in St. John’s.”

Marijuana use is so widespread that it is taking a massive amount of police resources to even pursue pot users. According to a report last year, “police report a pot possession incident every 9 minutes in Canada”. Inevitably, chasing down the almost endless amount of pot users and dealers takes police away from pursuing other criminal activity. Continue reading

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10 Things I Wish I Knew Before Our Trip to Cuba

As you probably remember from last week, John and I just went on our belated honeymoon to Cuba.

cars

And yes, there were awesome old cars everywhere.

We only went for one week, but we had a blast. The beaches were just as warm and beautiful as I’d been picturing. There were cigars available everywhere, just like John had been hoping. And the architecture in Old Havana was just as beautifully eclectic as you’d imagine for a country with such a fascinating history.

The only problem was, I really didn’t plan out our trip at all. Our entire summer was one crazy adventure after another and this was our final journey, so I was too busy planning other things to do much more than book an all-inclusive. While we did love our little escape, there are a few things we learned along the way that I wish I had known beforehand. Continue reading

Evan and Gordon Talk: Fat People

EVAN: Alright, ladies and gents, tonight Gordon and I are going to talk about a subject that may just help blot out the memory that was Man of Steel, and that is: fat people.

It was his suggestion, so I’m going to pass things off to him and get the ball rolling [no pun intended].

GORDON: More specifically, it’s the treatment we seem to offer the overweight in this country. I’m guessing you’ve seen at least one heftier person riding around the aisles of a grocery store in those little scooter things.

EVAN: Not so much here in Canada, but yes, they are indeed around. Again, no pun intended. Continue reading

Evan and Gordon Talk Extra: Smoking and Society, Cont’d

EVAN: So our good friend Stew mentioned something that I should have when we first did this talk, and it has to do with second-hand smoking.

It’s something I should have mentioned because when I was in middle school a man with a hole in his throat showed up to talk to us; he’d had lung cancer and never smoked a day in his life, just been married to a woman who did often.

GORDON: I’m not going to deny the danger of second hand smoke. However, as the man you mentioned does demonstrate, for that to you happen you have to be exposed to second hand smoke in huge volumes for massive periods of time.

You can’t stand down wind of a smoker one sunny spring day and then BOOM- cancer. Besides, with the vicious regulation we have today, you can go pretty much anywhere and not have to deal with it; smokers can only really smoke in a few places. Continue reading

Evan and Gordon Talk: Smoking and Society

GORDON: Smoke ’em if you’ve got ’em, folks, this Wednesday Evan and I will be discussing our culture and smoking.

EVAN: This is largely due to us not putting up the poll until days after the last E&GT was posted, but what are you going to do.

GORDON: I will I take responsibility for this. But back to the topic at hand-

No one here is going to make the argument that smoking is good for you. But speaking as someone who occasionally enjoys a pipe or a cigar and the like, I can’t help but feel there’s a ridiculous amount of discrimination against smokers in our society.

Continue reading

Coping with Cartoon Death

Cartoons are a complicated thing. For example, children’s cartoon characters are required, in general, to always be wearing a seatbelt when in a vehicle. British TV character Peppa Pig was forced to wear one in all future episodes once parents raised concern about safety [the first few episodes would also be reanimated to reflect the change].

The presence of tobacco is yet another issue. In the upcoming DC animated movie “Superman vs. The Elite” British antihero Manchester Black is portrayed without his customary cigarette hanging from his lips. As you can see by the images to the right, it has been replaced by a matchstick.

What I’m slowly trying to get to is death in cartoons, and how it’s handled. The reason that this post didn’t go up yesterday was that I was powering through an entire season of “The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.” While I was watching the show, however, the same thought kept running through my mind: so many people just died.

Large fight scenes abound in the show as the Avengers battle to save New York City and the world, and collateral damage abounds. Skyscrapers fall and cars are thrown around, often with the implication that there are indeed people inside. A movie can be rated PG-13 for “sci-fi destruction and violence,” and I wonder how the show would stand up to the MPAA’s standards.

Similarly, in Pixar’s “The Incredibles” it is very strongly implied [though never outright seen/stated] that people, specifically Syndrome’s henchmen, die. There is a scene where Dash fights one of these goons and causes him to crash his vehicle into a cliffside. The result is a fiery explosion. From what I could tell the first few times I saw the movie, the man had definitely perished in the blast. Out of curiosity, however, I watched it again yesterday at half the speed.

As you can see, there is a brief second where a piece of debris can be glimpsed that could maybe be interpreted as some sort of escape pod. I sincerely doubt it, though. And this causes me to wonder how Pixar managed to get away with it, and how exactly the rules can be bent. In the scene pictured above a ten-year-old boy is the cause of a man’s death. Is that something worth considering, would children even notice or be bothered by it?

Death in cartoons has always been a very important event. Primary antagonists are normally relegated to some sort of dramatic end, and Disney movies are a fine example of this. Gaston [Beauty and the Beast] plummets to his death in a gorge, Clayton [Tarzan] ends up hanging himself from vines, and Commander Rourke [Atlantis: The Lost Empire] is turned into crystal and ends up shattering after hitting the fan of a hot air balloon. Their henchmen are, by and large, simply knocked out, oftentimes in a comical manner.

The question I’m trying to ask is whether or not we should continue to uphold the concept of death as this sacred thing in cartoons. Does a henchman’s demise deserve any kind of gravitas, or should he die in the first place? How much credit do we give children to understand what is happening when a character dies on screen? I can’t say that I have the answers, but becoming a parent will probably force me to find out.