According to a recently released UN report, Canadians are the highest people in the industrialized world.
That's right: we smoke more pot than any other first world nation, placing fifth overall in the world behind a handful of third-world countries where, let's face it, there isn't much else to do.
As someone who has enjoyed a toke or two in his lifetime, (or maybe even more - I forget, man) it didn't really come as a surprise that one out of every six Canadians admits to firing up a doobie or that that number rises to as high as one in three if you're a high school student in Quebec. Marijuana fits in pretty nicely with the Canadian lifestyle - it goes great with a hockey game, beer and chicken wings, it gives you a nice buzz, usually a slight sense of euphoria, but nothing too outrageous and it grows like a weed - probably because it is a weed - in most regions of the country.
British Columbia, as any dope afficianado will tell you, is one of the world's great producers of pot. Often in the summertime, you can hear and see police helicopters as they search for crops - growing it between rows of corn is pretty common - or seek grow-ops which they can identify by the amount of infrared heat that's picked up. Other common ways of busting growers include targeting homes with a highly unusual consumption of water and electricity.
The silly thing about marijuana is that there are somehow still politicians and law enforcement officers who believe they can stamp it out and that it's worth any effort to do so. This, of course, flies in the face of all logic: prohibition of any material has never worked, pot is way too easy grow and move around and, lastly, there's no good reason to persecute it in a society where I can legally get wrecked on alcohol or over the counter medications that are far more dangerous to my health and the health of those around me and also far more addictive.
Yesterday, I was talking to a friend who just caught his teenage son high on the reefer because said son had doused himself in Axe to cover up the smell. "Did he admit it?" I asked "Yes," said dad. "Did you have to give him one of those stern talking tos?" "Yes", said dad, "I had to pretend I was really angry even though I wasn't." "Did you feel like a bit of a hypocrite?" "Yes."
And, therein lies the great Canadian conundrum with weed. Even in only one-sixth of us admit smoking it - which makes me believe a lot of people were lying - almost no one I know really cares.
The best thing we can do with pot is legalize it, sell it in liquor stores with all the appropriate regulations about providing it to the young, take it out of the hands of organized crimes and use the tax revenues to subsidize the cost of Cheesies. Or maybe to help people get off really serious drugs or other addictions. Or build roads. Or whatever.
One thing is for sure: just because it is illegal doesn't mean anyone's going to stop smoking it.