For those under the impression that Canada can be likened to the gentle, often apologetic, never radical nor reactionary neighbor-to-the-north of the United States, you have been grossly misled. Stephen Harper is Canada's Prime Minister — head of the executive branch in parliamentary or semi-presidential political systems — who can be quite the shit-stirrer, making uninformed and alarming comments. Harper has even been likened to republican front-runner Donald Trump in his affinity for bombastic comments.
After Harper was reminded by the fact that many countries have turned to marijuana legalization, and thousands of Canadians use marijuana to successfully treat ailments like PTSD, he was asked "what is it about marijuana — selling marijuana legally — that bothers you so much when alcohol and cigarettes are so (readily available)?"
His response defies all logic and reason.
"Well, you know, as I've said before, there is just overwhelming and growing scientific evidence about the bad long-term effects of marijuana. We've spent a couple generations trying to reduce the usage of tobacco in Canada with a lot of success. Tobacco is a product that does a lot of damage. Marijuana is infinitely worse and it's something we do not want to encourage."
"Marijuana is infinitely worse than Tobacco." That is his message here. Just from a mathematical viewpoint — never you mind the insanely nonsensical conservative stance expressed therein — that statement is completely maddening. There have been zero deaths directly related to marijuana use. Meanwhile, in Canada, health effects from tobacco use claim 37,000 lives annually, accounting for 17% of mortality.
The same goes for the United States where the top three deadliest drugs — tobacco, alcohol, and opioid painkillers — are legal while marijuana brings up the rear with zero deaths. Nearing ever closer to half a million deaths per year, tobacco eclipses all other causes of drug-related death. In fact, considering that the second biggest killer, alcohol, hardly registers when compared to number one, legalizing all drugs would still be incomparable to the scourge that is tobacco.
There is no reason to kid yourselves or continue spreading blatant lies. Rhetoric allows politicians like Prime Minister Harper to continue propagating long-held untruths. Though, all is not lost. Even the GOP seems to be softening, calling for reform against the War on Drugs. Slowly, people are coming around to the idea that marijuana use is infinitely safer than everything else imaginable.