Area resident Mitch Calkins celebrated at his home like many Canadians on Oct. 17, the day recreational marijuana became legal in Canada. Calkins’ advocates reducing the social stigma surrounding cannabis. Here he works on creating a new menu while enjoying some pot. Photo by Jeffrey Heyden-Kaye

Area resident Mitch Calkins celebrated at his home like many Canadians on Oct. 17, the day recreational marijuana became legal in Canada. Calkins’ advocates reducing the social stigma surrounding cannabis. Here he works on creating a new menu while enjoying some pot. Photo by Jeffrey Heyden-Kaye

Legalized marijuana sparks conversation on social stigmas

Ponoka area resident Mitchell Calkins enjoyed some cannabis on the first day of legalization

The legalization of recreation cannabis has sparked discussion about its use and social stigmas.

From national and local news media organizations across the country, to coffee shops and social media, the conversation around cannabis — both recreation and medical — is burning in everyone’s minds.

It’s also raised questions of people’s rights, laws around its use in public and how municipalities are supposed to handle their bylaws.

One user and advocate of cannabis feels it’s an important discussion. On the first day of legalization, Ponoka area resident Mitch Calkins spoke his thoughts on the matter.

“Cannabis has been coupled with many unfavourable labels, for a very long time. Some good, mostly bad. That being said, there are many facets of life we have certain stipulations with,” Calkins said.

Read: Puff, puff, pass: Cannabis is officially legal across Canada

Read: WCPS uses cannabis legislation to fully review drug, alcohol and tobacco policies

“We live in a world full of coffee, energy drinks, alcohol, tobacco, sleeping pills, or I’ll even go far as emotional support animals.”

He feels there is a way to use cannabis responsibly and still function as a contributing citizen.

“It’s blatantly obvious that there is no need to search very hard, and find that there are many stimulants and suppressants that coincide with the coping of our day to day lives.”

“I’m a proud and responsible cannabis user. I’m not perfect and I will never claim to be, and that doesn’t make me a bad person. If cannabis has affected you negatively in your life, that is truly unfortunate. But with enough proper research and education we can stabilize the social stigma surrounding cannabis.”

Calkins referred to the late Premier Ralph Klein and something he said that stuck with Calkins over the years.

“Everyone knows I have sins. I eat too much. I still drink. I gamble, and God forbid, I still see some of my old friends,” Ralph Klein, in 1982.