Right to Grow-Ops
Here is a situation that actally occurred in February 2015 in Markham, Ontario. A school community was outraged to discover that a legal grow-op had been established across the street from Sam Chapman Public School. The owner was given a licence to legally grow 146 plants for personal use. Parents say they’ve noticed the pungent smell of the plants on their kids’ clothes after they leave the elementary school.
“I’m shocked that this is happening, I can’t believe this,” said one woman at the gathering. “How can you give a guy a licence to do this across the street from a school?” A couple living in the house next-door say the odour given off by the plants is “unbearable.”
Oak Ridges-Markham Conservative MP Paul Calandra attended the meeting and agreed the home-based operation should be closed. However, he added that shutting it down won’t be easy. The federal government moved last year to ban Canadians from growing medical marijuana at homes but regulations limiting cultivation to commercial operators were put on hold because of an ongoing legal challenge by a group of patients. Ah, democracy. Ain’t it grand?
Jon and Jackie Messenger said the operation at a plaza near Royal Windsor Drive and Southdown Road is making it hard to do business. They said they can smell the plants all day long inside the offices of their heating and air conditioning company.
Is that truly fair? When the stench from a person’s home is so strong that neighbours and people at businesses are offended by it (physically as well as psychologically) should this be permitted? I don’t think so. And don’t tell yourself I am a self-righteous moralist who is pointing fingers because pot is bad and so are all drugs. That isn’t my perspectives at all. My viewpoint is that the majority are entitled to their rights over the minority where matters of physical and mental health are concerned. Once in high school a teacher asked us “is what is legal necessarily moral?” I’d like to substitute the word ethical. The answer is no.
The legal right to a grow-op across the street from a school (or anywhere) isn’t a good thing. Why? Who deserves the legal right to grow pot in a neighborhood of children? Are we really naïve enough to believe that every person with a basement grow-op isn’t going to distribute grass among friends and acquaintances? Or sell it for profit? Is it a good example for young people that marijuana should be legalized?
However on the other side of the grow-op fence, studies ascertain that marijuana grow-ops didn’t increase the use of pot among teenagers in the community. And we know that smoking pot isn’t a slippery slope to using much heavier drugs. That’s silly. Either you’re going to be a hard drug user or you aren’t. Heroin or crack or meth have nothing to do with marijuana. Not even close. Watch this funny video.
Marijuana is generally much stronger now than it was in the 1960s when free love and marijuana and all that groovy stuff was hip. It was relatively harmless, harmless meaning brain cells were still being destroyed by the stuff, but you could argue that a lot of things kill our brain cells every day, including smog and stupidity.
The main ingredient in marijuana responsible for its psychoactive, or mood altering, effects is a cannabinoid called delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, or “THC” for short. The amount of THC in marijuana determines the strength of the drug. This can vary depending on the strain or variety of the plant, the way in which the plant is grown, the part of the plant that is used, and the way the plant is prepared and stored. The way marijuana is grown can affect the amount of THC in the plant, and therefore its potency.
Some argue that cannabis grown hydroponically, or under artificial light, is stronger than cannabis grown outdoors in natural light. Because the amount and quality of resin produced depends on temperature, humidity, light, and soil acidity, cannabis grown outdoors varies considerably in potency, whereas intensive indoor cultivation, often done with female plants and clones, under artificial light, and without soil, produces optimized cultivation conditions and cannabis of a consistently higher potency.
Some users of the drug say they can tell when they are using “hydro” cannabis versus “bush weed” because the effects are so much stronger. However, some people do not believe it is hydroponic cultivation itself that makes cannabis stronger; large scale hydroponic cultivators may simply be more likely to use more potent strains and grow plants to their full potential.
Insofar as hydro-grown plants are concerned, illicit operations steal that hydro power from the tax-payers. They access it through illegal means and drive up community taxes. The vast majority of grow-ops fall into this category. This may be another reason to legalize the stuff. Or it may simply be great for finger-pointing. If cannabis is legally grown will this offer a tax write-off for people who grow it? Will it again increase taxes in a community or both?
It is a fact that many people with Lou Gehrig’s disease can extend their lifespan by decades by smoking pot. Normally a person who is diagnosed with ALS has only 3 months to live. That’s awful. If a person with a terminal illness can extend their lifespan (and hopefully maintain a good quality of life) by smoking marijuana then give it to them. But make it the sort of medication that one gets through a doctor’s prescription and purchases it at a pharmacy. That seems to be a fair compromise between grow-ops and community concerns to me.
People have also used the same explanation for things like back pain. Wellll. That makes me roll my eyes. There are other much more effective legal medications for that. Try Percocet. That should keep the pain at bay. And before you say but that stuff is addictive, so is pot. Watch this unfunny video.
These people are the ultimate source of marijuana (and a lot of illicit drugs in North America). They have acres of marijuana that make residential grow-ops look like child’s play. They like earning their money from selling their pot (and other fond pursuits). They don’t like commercial competition. It doesn’t sit well. If you would like to take on a motorcycle gang that will kill you as easily as they will shake hands with you and say “welcome to the neighbourhood” then you are a braver soul than I. (FYI do I really have to inform you that this is sarcasm)? We need a little comic relief.
Hey listen I’m open-mined enough to provide links to counterarguments to my opinion. You can easily find as many reasons to argue for the legalization of marijuana grow-ops as I can to not legalize them. I admit that freely. We are all entitled to our opinions and I welcome your feedback.
But don’t think for a minute you’ll change my mind. You won’t.
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