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LETTER: Should Newmarket follow in Colorado's path for cannabis smoking bylaw?

There are reasons that six years after legalizing recreational use of cannabis, Colorado still has such strict laws, not mere guidelines, letter writer says
2018-11-01 smoking
File photo/Village Media

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Social media is abuzz with a myriad of opinions about where we should or should not be allowed to “get our buzz on.” 

The conversations vary from benign offhand tosses to those spouting profanity and threats of digital mayhem. Watching the chasm between the opposing sides of this Latest Dance With Mary Jane, another question comes to mind. 

How how much more progressive than Colorado, which made recreational cannabis legal in 2012, do we initially want to go prior to considering more of the actual ramifications? Placing all the medical repercussions and potential bystander allergic reactions aside, let’s consider what we are really dealing with here. 

It is not a simple issue of limiting exposure to skunky second-hand smoke. That’s merely the hazy esthetics of the issue at hand. 

Behind the reeking reefer fumes is the real consideration that should have more of our focus — how do we deal with the public intoxication, fully loaded with its giddy sense of lowered inhibition and reduced motor skills? How do we navigate allotting for our newly minted recreational freedom and public safety at the same time? That’s the question of the hour. 

There are reasons that six years after legalizing recreational use of cannabis, Colorado still has such strict laws, not mere guidelines for consideration. 

This is how it is handling the dilemma:

“Where can I smoke pot in Colorado? Marijuana may not be consumed openly or publicly in Colorado. Under the law, those forbidden spots include transportation facilities (train and bus stations, for example); schools; music, sports or amusement venues; parks and playgrounds (including Denver mountain parks, such as Red Rocks Amphitheatre) and rooftop cafes. You cannot smoke marijuana – or anything else, for that matter – indoors in any public areas, such as restaurants, theaters or office buildings. It is also prohibited to consume marijuana on the 16th Street Mall (and on city blocks for one block in any direction of the mall). But Colorado residents can smoke in the comfort of their own homes -- assuming they own their home or their lease does not have any smoking restrictions.” 

Whether we proceed down a similar path or craft another that is creatively Canadian, Newmarket has decisions to make. We have to figure out how to protect ourselves and our personal or private property while still allowing those who wish to enjoy our new found freedom to do so at the same time. It should not have to be a zero sum proposition resulting in a breech of the kindness and civility with which we always strive to treat our neighbours family and friends, either face to face or online. 

Donna Buchanan, Newmarket