Comparing cannabis to communism during a debate of Bill 26 had Lacombe-Ponoka MLA Ron Orr having to clarify his position.
During the debate, Orr spoke on the issues of opium in China and how it affected the social fabric of the country. That comparison caused some to question his thoughts on the issue.
He did speak with one proponent of medical marijuana concerned that Orr was stigmatizing its use. Orr said that there is a legitimate place for medical marijuana just as there is a place for other prescription drugs.
Orr says his goal was to point out that he has some concerns with the speed in which the legalization of recreational marijuana legislation is coming into play.
He feels there needs to be some caution into the process and suggests the focus on his communism comments comes from someone at the NDP.
“We should be thinking about the potential human cost of this,” added Orr.
He says heavy marijuana use could cause some real issues of further addiction and can be a gateway drug to other, heavier drugs.
“The province is wrestling with, how do we provide addiction services?” said Orr.
That being said, he does admit that regulation needs to occur because no regulation would bring a worse scenario.
As for China and issues with opium, Orr says in the 1800s there were such strong societal problems because of addiction to the drug, that the country had to bring about ways to heal the addictions.
“There were 10 million addicts in China at the time. It was a huge social problem,” said Orr.
This does have a personal concern for him and he feels heavy marijuana use develops anxiety in users.
“I have family that have been addicted to marijuana,” said Orr, adding that after a while the highs leave and the anxiety stays.