March 18, 2004
Weed was in the air this week as leader of the British Columbia Marijuana party, Marc Emery, visited McMaster and sang the praises of smoking pot.
Emery, marijuana advocate and supporter of the New Democratic Party, spoke to interested students and members of the public about the benefits of smoking marijuana, and the difficulties pot smokers have with the authorities. Emery presented to a number of self-declared "stoned" audience members, and began the afternoon with free pizza and pop and the reading of a rhyming poem praising marijuana and promoting its legalization.
"There is nothing bad about pot," declared Emery. "Pot is perfect. Everything they've told you about pot is a lie."
The guest lecturer, originally from London, Ontario, has been "toking up" for about 23 years now. He proudly spoke of his many arrests, convictions, and strip-searches, which he said he bears like medals of valour. Sparing no detail, Emery recounted the story of the "sensually enhanced" experience he had losing his virginity while "high."
In his discussion, Emery compared marijuana to the more commonly consumed--and legal--alcohol. He contended that thousands of pot smokers are sent to jail for weed every year while weed doesn't kill anyone. Meanwhile, alcohol is attributed to over 10,000 deaths every year, all accidental, criminal, and illness-related. Yet, nobody goes to jail for possessing or consuming alcohol, which, Emery argues, is a more harmful substance than marijuana.
"If you smoke marijuana, you will not get lung cancer," said Emery. "Nobody has ever died from respiratory problems due to the smoking of weed. Meanwhile, cigarettes are extremely harmful to the respiratory system, they are proven to cause cancer, and proven to be very addictive while, unlike pot, they don't do anything good for you."
Emery further argued that the chemicals we release into the air from factories and vehicles are much more dangerous and harmful to people than weed. He also noted that since weed has never been known to kill anyone, peanuts, which kill many people each year, are even more dangerous.
"In fact, while cigarettes leave poisonous tar inside the lungs and constrict the lungs, weed particles leave the lungs when the smoke is exhaled, leaving only the THC which naturally opens up your lungs and even attacks tumors. There are lists of legal things that kill people every day from peanuts and junk food to alcohol and cigarettes, and yet it is for weed, which hasn't ever killed anyone, that thousands of us go to jail every year."
Emery urged audience members to become marijuana activists saying that it is a cultural practice that enhances creativity, sensitivity, inner peace, and outward tolerance and patience. He said that his work is not to advocate some harmful drug-induced, carefree, do-nothing lifestyle; rather, it is to promote a healthier lifestyle both physically and mentally.
"I'm not out to get wasted," said Emery, "I have lots of weed parties but we never serve alcohol or provide any narcotics. It's about being naturally healthy and happy... pot is even great for people with multiple sclerosis and Crohn's disease."
Emery renounces the term, "medicinal marijuana." According to him, everybody who uses pot uses it for therapeutically and recreationally, whether they admit it or not. He went on to say that the allowance of medicinal marijuana is likely just a kind of trial being run by the government to gauge the public reaction to various degrees or legalized marijuana.
"Your teachers, parents, police, and politicians; everybody in authority will lie to you about pot. The fact is that pot doesn't make you stupid or incapable of learning or productivity; it just adds another dimension to the senses. Pot makes you more receptive, more creative, and more attentive to the process at hand rather than the end result. That means that if you do something when you're high, you'll pay more attention to the small details of what you're doing, and so, you'll do it better."
"Write letters to the government," urged Emery. "Support pro-legalization political groups, the biggest of which for us in Canada being the NDP. Create student groups designed to raise awareness of our cause. But most of all, as often as you can, smoke with large groups of people as openly as you like. Marijuana isn't a dirty secret that we have to hide; it is our right as free people, so enjoy it freely."
Monday's three-hour-long seminar in TSH 120 ended with a large group
of people lighting up in the arts quad, smoking weed and even offering
some to passers-by. Marc Emery, himself, proudly joined, toking up alongside
his fellow supporters.
Copyright © 2004, The Silhouette