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Canada Marijuana Legalization Long Time Coming, But I Don't Get It

Updated on October 19, 2018
Christina St-Jean profile image

I am a mom of two awesome children who teach me more than I ever thought possible. I love writing, exercise, movies, and LGBT advocacy.

Two Cannabis Icons, Grown Up


Weedless In A Weed World, And That's OK

I've never really understood the appeal of marijuana.

I know what the effects are supposed to be like - certainly, those have pretty much become legendary thanks to the media, Willie Nelson, and Tommy Chong - but smoking weed has never really been a burning passion of mine.

I don't begrudge people their right to smoke it recreationally, provided that they treat it like alcohol and don't get behind the wheel after they've had some, but I am curious about how they started smoking it in the first place.

I first became truly aware of the pervasiveness of marijuana when I went to a George Thorogood and the Destroyers concert in my first year of university. To say I was an innocent at the time - and probably still am in many ways, actually - would be a gross understatement. There was what I thought was a very unpleasant odor permeated throughout the concert venue, and I'd noticed it right away. I had no idea what it was, but stupidly, was concerned when I saw the haze of smoke in the upper rafters of the venue and asked my friend about it. He looked at me appraisingly, wondering no doubt if I was seriously asking him what the smoke was, and told me in the same voice that he no doubt would have used for a small child that people were smoking weed. I'm sure on some level that I knew that's exactly what they were doing, but at the time, I was struck a little dumb because innocent that I was, it would not have even occurred to me to light up during a concert.

Flash forward to several years later. I was now a teacher at an adult learning centre where the students were trying to get past whatever issues had prevented them from earning their high school diplomas in the first place. I was helping in a math class when a student entered and I was hit with a smell so strong it was as though a skunk had entered the room. By this point, I knew exactly what the student had done prior to his attendance at class, and took him to the hall for a private conversation, much to the relief of some of the students who also noticed the smell and were not impressed. I asked him how much he'd smoked, let him protest for a few moments that the smell from his friend's car was really the issue because they'd been smoking and he hadn't been (even though the smell was also coming off his breath and he was looking like he was having a hard time focusing), and then suggested that perhaps he head home for the day to clean the smell from his friend's car out of his system.

I did not understand then, and still don't, the appeal of smoking marijuana recreationally. How do you get past the smell?

That being said, I do understand quite clearly that there are benefits to marijuana use. I have had adult students in the past who have told me that they would not be able to function - not due to addiction, but due to their mental health - without marijuana on a daily basis. There are several people who proudly proclaim the benefits of marijuana use for pain management, who use it to help control symptoms associated with a broad range of mental health conditions, and who simply use it to manage anger.

I don't begrudge anyone their right to smoke marijuana, provided they do it legally. I'm a bit of a sucker that way; I have this crazy thought that if someone is doing something legal, even if I don't necessarily agree with it, it's all good. I just have never understood the appeal of smoking or more specifically, of smoking marijuana. It also impresses me when someone can show me they've done research from legitimate websites (for instance, not or some other site that by its very name implies its support for its product - and I don't know if such a site by that name even exists) about anything, let alone marijuana.

It'll be interesting to see if the legalization of marijuana here in Canada will have its desired effect. I'm just hoping for increased safety; with stories about fentanyl-laced weed killing those who smoke it, I'm hoping those who choose to use marijuana won't be taking their lives into their own hands.

Just don't expect me to smoke, too.


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