Letters Aug. 14: Wisdom of pot legalization, Dallas Road’s art deco look

Too soon for a verdict on pot legalization

Re: “Legalizing pot is proving to be a public-health disaster,” column, Aug. 11.

Lawrie McFarlane’s verdict is premature. Legal regulation in Canada isn’t analogous to legalization in Colorado, for among other reasons, Colorado allows advertising and initially allowed edibles and extracts with inadequate labelling, packaging and dose limitations.

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Yes, emergency-room visits from adverse reactions spiked in Colorado following legalization, but this was due in part to inexperienced tourists from prohibitionist states, and consumers feeling more inclined to seek help once they no longer feared arrest. Panicked patients are typically discharged (the wiser) on the same day, with no lasting ill effects. Such visits remain far less common and severe than visits related to alcohol, pharmaceuticals and tobacco.

McFarlane is also wrong to conclude that “every one of the pro-legalization arguments is in doubt.” As expected, senseless arrests for cannabis possession have dropped while demand has remained stable.

Yes, black market displacement has been slower than hoped in Canada, but this is largely due to delays in implementation. Most cannabis consumers are not price-sensitive. I, for example, wouldn’t know where to obtain black-market alcohol if I wanted it, and I don’t mind paying a little more for drinks of known potency, purity and provenance from licensed vendors.

Matthew M. Elrod

On cannabis, Canada is different from Colorado

Re: “Legalizing pot is proving to be a public-health disaster,” column, Aug. 11.

In his opinion piece on cannabis legalization, Lawrie McFarlane cites a short-term increase in the numbers of adolescents visiting emergency rooms for cannabis in Colorado — a jurisdiction with a commercialized approach to cannabis legalization — as evidence that Canada’s much more restrictive public health-oriented approach to legalization has failed.

However, as scientists who have carefully considered how to best measure the public-health impacts of cannabis legalization, we would suggest a thorough and ongoing analysis of Canadian data is needed to understand the effects of the new regulatory landscape. Although cannabis-related hospital visits should be a priority, we also need to ask important questions about underlying causes: if we see an increase, how much is due to increasing use among youth, and how much could be related to shifting trends in products/modes of administration (e.g., a shift towards high-THC concentrates, increased edible consumption)?

What impact might legalization and de-stigmatization have on the willingness of people to seek medical care for cannabis-related concerns? Understanding these details will help us make policy adjustments and develop appropriate messaging around safer consumption of cannabis for at-risk populations.

McFarlane’s assertion that reverting back to cannabis prohibition would alleviate potential negative public-health outcomes does not line up with current scientific evidence. Age-appropriate, evidence-based and non-judgmental education incorporating harm reduction is our best tool to address high-risk cannabis use among youth.

Stephanie Lake
PhD candidate, UBC School of Population and Public Health

M-J Milloy
Canopy Growth professor of cannabis science, UBC

Full circle on Dallas Road railing

We’ve come full circle with the good folks protesting replacing the crumbling Dallas Road railing on the grounds the solid structure was beneficial in protecting the road from debris thrown up during winter storms.

I well remember the hue and cry about loss of view when the existing post-and-pipe fence along Dallas Road was replaced by the “modern” solid concrete structure, and now it seems we’re going back to what we started out with. Oh well — guess that’s the Victoria way. Got to protest something … bunnies, bears, deer, trees —-we’ve got a cause for everybody

Peter M. Clarke

Cost of designing Dallas Road barrier

I have no problem with replacing the crumbling Dallas Road concrete barrier with something new, such as the wire fence now on the breakwater. But as a taxpayer, I must wonder why city staff have requested $150,000 in funds for planning and design work. The city engineering department is well staffed with many engineers earning over $75,000 annually. Surely the staff who will do this planning and design work are already salaried employees of the city. Is this work not already part of their job?

Roel Hurkens

Keep the Dallas Road art deco wall

My thanks to the letter-writer who described the Dallas Road seawall in James Bay as being specifically designed to reduce wave impact. Even as a child, I was aware of its protective capability, ensuring both pedestrians and vehicles safe passage during a winter storm. The proposed railing will allow water and tossing debris to find its way to the street.

I would like to point out, too, that the pale-blue art deco existing wall has become emblematic of that walk up to the breakwater. Epoxy resin repairs are long-lasting and relatively inexpensive.

The ancient leaning chestnut on Dallas has been removed — it would be appropriate to spare this other long-term fixture of the Dallas walking experience.

Jan Jeffers

Kudos to Victoria council for bike lanes

Re: “Public safety, not pet projects,” letter, Aug. 11.

Voicing an unfortunate yet common falsehood, the letter-writer criticized “Victoria council’s choice to fund even more bike lanes instead of giving our police force the funding they need to keep the city safe.”

The protected bike lanes and public realm improvements on Vancouver Street will be funded entirely through the federal Gas Tax Fund, not property taxes. A Gas Tax Fund allocation must be spent on infrastructure; it cannot be spent on policing.

Thus, Victoria council did not choose bike lanes over policing. Rather, the City of Victoria succeeded in winning a $6.6-million Gas Tax Fund allocation that will help make our streets safer for all, increase the percentage of people who bike, reduce the percentage of people who drive, reduce fossil fuel emissions, and make our city more healthy, livable, and vibrant. Kudos to Victoria councillors and staff for their great work on this project.

Graham Briggs

How to save money on Vancouver Street

If the two “unneeded” traffic diversion and calming portions of the planned $6.6 million bike lane along Vancouver Street, at McClure Street and Pandora Avenue, were eliminated, the city could probably shave off about $2 million or more in costs and redirect that money toward building us a “proper” concrete replica storm-worthy seawall on Dallas Road, instead of a steel wire cable rail.

Dave Paul

Don’t forget missing Indigenous women

All lives matter.

For a number of weeks I have watched, read, and listened to updates of the massive search for two young men linked to the deaths of three others.

I can only imagine the fear and bewilderment experienced in the communities where the searching took place.

As a human being, I have felt deep sorrow for the loss of these five lives.

Yet I wonder … what if similar resources and effort was spent looking for the murderers of missing Indigenous girls and women?

All lives matter.

Barbara Hansen

Should we also listen to Earth-is-flat believers?

Re: “Present both sides of the climate-change issue,” “Listening to opposing views with respect,” letters, Aug. 10.

The letter writers are spot on!

We should all listen respectfully and attentively to all views including the views of those who argue that the Earth is flat, the moon landing was a staged hoax, Sasquatch exists, vaccinations cause autism, homosexuality can be “cured,” Anglo-Saxons are a superior race, the best defence from a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun, the universe was created in seven days, Noah’s ark saved humans and other species from a flood sent by God, and above all, that the position of the planets in the sky influences human events.

Harvey Williams

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