Faye Arcand is a freelance writer living in the South Okanagan.

Auntie Says: Legalization changes comes with social responsibility

It’s an exciting time of change in our country

Marijuana? Cannabis? Pot? Blunt? It really doesn’t matter what it’s called because in Canada it’ll soon be legal.

For many who have prescriptions for medical cannabis creams, pills, oils, tobacco etc., the merits and positive effects, and usage, of the drug are not in question. The prescribed ongoing use under a doctor’s care is a great alternative for some patients to find relief from chronic pain or other medical issues. I’m sure it’ll be such a positive thing for them not having to deal with the illicit label associated with their medication.

The reality is, though, that not all marijuana, or cannabis, users are the same. There are those that take it with a prescription, there are recreational-weekend users, the once-in-a-while puffers and then you have the trend of the wake and bake/daily (and often all day) users who are not under any medical supervision and/or personal scrutiny for their behaviour.

For those that don’t know, the term ‘wake and bake’ (aka morning glory), is all about preparation. Before you go to sleep, you ready a joint/bong/bowl/pipe (whatever method you prefer) of marijuana, making sure it’s within reach so you can smoke it immediately upon waking. Some say the high achieved through wake and bake is superior, more intense, and lasts longer because the body absorbs more THC since it’s in a fasting state and isn’t fully awake. Others say it just kickstarts their day.

My concern about the wake and bake is that it may not stop there. Is it just a morning thing or is it all day? Every day? If it goes into all day, I say you have a problem because your ‘habit’ (that’s a gentle word for addiction) affects not only you, but others as well.

Life, and living it, is about finding a balance. If you’re getting up every single morning and reaching for your weed like this, you need to have a look at your life. If you wake and bake and then go into an all day smoke-fest, sadly you’re missing out on opportunities because you’ve become a functional stoner.

If you had a partner who woke up, rolled over in bed and took a long swig of tequila every morning — just to calm their nerves before facing the shower or getting out of bed — would you be concerned? Then later, in traffic, she gets tense so she pulls out the tequila and takes a couple of shots — just to take the edge off. An hour later she has an exam at school — oops, better have a few quick sips to get rid of the jitters. Every hour or two — just quick shots to get through the day. I mean come on, alcohol is legal —right?!

Would you wonder if they were impaired after drinking all day? Take that same scenario and replace the drinking with smoking pot. Does it make it any more acceptable? Would you be concerned? Are you impaired?

I know that marijuana can relax you or have a euphoric affect, but it can also bring on anxiety, panic, paranoia and memory loss. It also causes cognitive and physical impairment. It slows your reaction time, affects your co-ordination, slows your decision making, screws up your ability to judge distances, and can lower your blood pressure—all of which can present problems when doing your everyday activities. I recognize it’s different for everyone.

Smoking dope, with a wake and bake and all day/everyday, affects not only you, but those around you. Heck, even Woody Harrelson, the dope smoker extraordinaire, quit smoking because, as he said in Variety Magazine, “it was keeping him from being emotionally available.”

Sometimes you need to stop and think. Would you want the doctor who’s doing your vasectomy in the morning to wake and bake? or how about the semi-truck coming towards you on the freeway— or your kids school bus driver — did they partake in their morning glory? Does any of it make a difference to you?

You need to remember that pot is addictive and you can become dependent on it. One common argument is that marijuana is just an herb and can’t be harmful or addictive because it’s all natural. That argument doesn’t float. Nature produces a long list of indulgences from nicotine, to sugar, to opium—all highly addictive.

As legislation and regulation come down the pike there will also be more enforcement. Are you ready for that? The police will eventually be checking for THC levels while driving etc. There’ll be many changes that come with legalization and it’s not going to just be a free for all.

Long term medical and scientific studies of usage, affects, and benefits will be done and available for us to learn from.

It’s an exciting time of change in our country. That change comes with the social responsibility of exercising our personal growth, ability to make wise choices, and defining our own boundaries. You all know where Auntie stands.

Faye Arcand is a freelance writer living in the South Okanagan and can be reached at faye.arcand@icloud.com.

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