June 29th, 2017

Hatters gather to raise awareness about the legalization of cannabis


By Mo Cranker on April 21, 2017.

A group of activists demonstrate in front of city hall to bring awareness to perceived flaws in the government's plan to legalize cannabis. The group says it would like the see clearer laws surrounding legalization, to see fewer restrictions for recreational use and to see past cannabis-related charges dropped.--NEWS PHOTO MO CRANKER


mcranker@medicinehatnews.com
@MHNmocranker

A few dozen Hatters gathered in front of city hall Thursday to light up a joint and raise awareness of the proposed legalization of cannabis in Canada.

The group met downtown at 3 p.m. and talked to anyone interested before lighting up some joints at 4:20 p.m. and marching to the provincial building. Armed with signs, pamphlets and pins, the group’s main goal was to raise awareness and, more importantly, spread education on the topic of the proposed legalization, said group spokesperson Caelan Walton.

“The government coming out and proposing the legalization of cannabis is just the first step of many that needs to take place in this process,” he said. “Our group of people here today are for the medical and recreation use of cannabis, but we want the government to take a look at the proposed legalization and to clarify things and to re-write other things.”

One of the parts of the proposed legalization Walton says he has a problem with is the length of the penalty for giving a minor marijuana.

“The penalty being proposed for giving a minor marijuana is up to 14 years in prison,” he said.

“Comparative to that, for alcohol and tobacco, it’s a fine and a slap on the wrist and an establishment can lose a licence — I don’t think children should be using cannabis in the slightest, but I think these laws need to be more in line with alcohol and tobacco laws.”

Walton says he thinks the proposed legalization could use another read over or two from people who use cannabis on a day-to-day basis.

“I think it’s pretty clear that the people writing these laws don’t understand how cannabis really works,” he said. “You can be punished for up to five years in prison for the public possession of a budding and flowering cannabis plant — does that mean taking a plant for a walk? Or does it mean growing cannabis in an unfenced yard? Just overall, some parts are poorly written.”

Another thing Walton says he would like to see is the eradication of past cannabis convictions from when the substance was illegal.

“Once cannabis is legalized, I think all past convictions should be looked at again,” he said. “People who use cannabis want to see it legalized mostly to free up the police from having to deal with it at all, and getting them looking at bigger, more important problems.”


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