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Prominent Canadian Activist Tells Govt: Cannabis Doesn’t Increase Impaired Driving Crashes

Prominent Canadian Activist Tells Govt: Cannabis Doesn’t Increase Impaired Driving Crashes

Dina Al-Shibeeb
Marc Emery and his wife, Jodie, are pictured in Vancouver in this May 10, 2010, photo. (Image via Canadian Press)

Jodie Emery, a known Canadian cannabis activist, shared on Twitter on Monday, a letter addressed to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, saying: Marijuana “doesn’t increase impaired driving crashes or fatalities.”

The letter titled: “Cannabis Consumption and Driving,” taps into two of the most contested issues regarding the legalization of marijuana. One being marijuana-induced impaired driving, and the psychological and other health risks for teens or young people using cannabis.

This summer, Canada is going to be the first developed nation that will legalize marijuana.

The activist and her husband – Marc Emery –  yet another widely-known cannabis advocate pled guilty and were sentenced in a drug-related trial in late December. The cannabis advocacy duo both run Cannabis Culture magazine and stores had to pay $195,000 in fines for each of them.

the two - Prominent Canadian Activist Tells Govt: Cannabis Doesn’t Increase Impaired Driving Crashes
Marijuana advocate Marc Emery (2nd L) and his wife Jodie (3rd L) walk down a street followed by his supporters after he was released from an American prison for selling marijuana seeds in the U.S., in Windsor, Ontario August 12, 2014. (File image via Reuters)

In the letter, Emery wrote that adolescent marijuana use is not linked to later depression in life, lung cancer or other health problems, citing studies published by prominent publications like Newsweek and Science Daily.

Conflicting Studies?

There are so far conflicting studies on what cannabis can do to teens. Cannabis advocates, for instance, criticize studies that link adolescent pot smoking with psychosis, urging observers to check the trail of funding these studies would receive.

Last week, Paul W. Bennett, an Education Policy Researcher at the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies (AIMS), is one of the latest Canadians sounding the alarm on marijuana-related consequences for Canadian teens. 

A national study in 2016 showed that Canadian youth are the top users of cannabis in the developed world, with one in five people between the ages of 15 and 24 years old reporting daily or almost daily use of the substance.

Bennet, an Adjunct Professor of Education at Saint Mary’s University in Nova Scotia, who is also the Founding Director of Schoolhouse Institute, cited studies in support of how marijuana is “damaging to academic performance,” enticing to “early-onset paranoid psychosis,” and how it is seen as a “much safer than alcohol,” probably inducing impaired driving.

These contested issues are what made Bill Blair, the Canadian MP leader of the task force on consultation for marijuana legalization, say that he prioritizes “getting it right” and does not feel “pressured” by time.

Asked if he felt pressured over the July deadline for the nationwide marijuana legalization, Bill, a former police chief, said: “I feel pressured to get it right,” citing “evidence” and scientific research as important for consultation.

Meanwhile, Blair said impaired driving due to drug use has been a problem for decades and it is not new.

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