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Voices: Rise in pot use

Toronto Star, Toronto, Ontario, November 24, 2004

A study by a federal agency suggests marijuana use in Canada has doubled over the last decade, with 14 per cent of respondents saying they smoked pot last year, up from 7.4 per cent in 1994. We asked readers why they thought this was. Here's what you had to say:
As attitudes have changed from those in 1994 and the substance gets closer to attaining a legal status, people who use it will feel less inclined to lie to anonymous federal pollsters/narcs on the phone. Thus, the numbers go up and reflect a Read More ..curate picture of usage.
Dave Acey, Hamilton, Nov. 24

Pot use, among other things, has increased for the same reason that opium in China was so prevalent during the nineteenth century. Lack of social mobility, lack of economic opportunity, poverty, fashion, and a government that's nearly as detached from reality as the Qing Emperor was from his people. When it is perceived that there's little to lose, one doesn't risk very much by medicating himself or herself into oblivion for a few hours.
Matt Keefer, Peterborough, Nov. 24

People are simply being Read More ..nest. I've always suspected the numbers in the past to be low. If everyone who has ever smoked a joint in their life actually came clean the numbers would be staggering.
Kevin Marks, Barrie, Nov. 24

Marijuana usage has doubled over the last decade because young people (college, university & high school students) have access to it through friends and have an inner desire to be adventurous and cool. They like getting high since it produces a sense of euphoria and pleasantness. Smoking is increasing because the pot supply is not diminishing and the addiction is like a magnet: super strong. There is not enough awareness in schools to prohibit this matter.
Ashley Soldera, Kingston, Nov. 24

Our culture's liberal view of cannabis use coupled with light penalties for simple possession has been the main reason for the increase. It will only continue to be Read More ..d Read More ..mmon.
Don Johnson, Welland, Nov. 24

I think Read More ..ople are just admitting to using pot now that laws around it are loosening. However, the finding that educated, high-income earners are smoking the most pot makes sense - my friends and I are in this group and we use marijuana not the way alcohol is used, but to relax, de-stress, chill out. Sort of the way our mothers used Valium in the 1960s.
Marianne Smith, Toronto, Nov. 24

I think most people realize that the harmful effects of pot are at par or lesser than those associated with cigarettes or alcohol. And it is becoming Read More ..cially acceptable; listen to any hip-hop song.
Scott Burdett, Toronto, Nov. 24

I don't think that it's an issue of Read More ..e, it's Read More .. an issue of pot becoming Read More ..cially acceptable. Everyone is now admitting how much pot is part of our everyday life.
Andrew Chapman, Toronto, Nov. 24

As high school progressed, Read More ..d Read More ..rijuana was used at my school. It became cheaper and easier to access than liquor and could be found everywhere. I am a user of marijuana, I go to school maintain a 75% average. I don't think of my cannabis use as a problem. I am responsible when I use it; I don't drive and I do it on private property. I am not a product of some social ill. I am not deviant. I'm a mild-mannered pothead.
Emily White, Peterborough, Nov. 24

The reasons are simple: 1) ease of supply 2) dramatic increase in quality 3) you can't hide being drunk.4) it works out cheaper than booze and 5) no taxes.
Bob DeVreeze, Bracebridge, Nov. 24

Marijuana is Read More ..cially acceptable now than it was 10 years ago. Each year that goes by, Read More ..ople will admit to using it because it's not frowned upon as much as it once was. With the government taking steps to decriminalize small amounts of it, Read More ..ople are willing to admit their use of it.
Brian Parsons, Toronto, Nov. 24

I think the figures have changed as Read More ..ople are admitting to use - not that the use itself has doubled. This reflects on society's acceptance of a relatively benign indulgence, as opposed to far Read More ..ngerous ones such as alcohol.
Fiona Hammond, Ottawa, Nov. 24

I believe increase in pot use might be attributed to the fact people are Read More ..rthcoming on their use of pot. Though it hasn't been decriminalized (yet), it certainly has been de-stigmatized, as evidenced by the police service's reluctance to press charges, in most cases, for the offence of smoking or possession of small amounts of pot, and by the federal government's overtures to decriminalize it.
Steve Sampson, Toronto, Nov. 24

I think that marijuana use has increased simply due to that fact that people are discovering it is not that bad of a drug. Even compared to alcohol, marijuana has mild effects. The fact that educated people use the drug Read More ..dicates that it is not as dangerous as people once thought
Brett Lindsay, Markham, Nov. 24

I suspect the rise in depression rates in increasingly troubled times. As a fully functioning, middle-aged, productive member of society, I choose to self-medicate rather than use prescription anti-depressants any Read More ..in particular after the last legal drug I was treated with was removed from market because of deadly side effects.
Theresa Lennon, Toronto, Nov. 24

I do not believe that the use of marijuana is up, just the view that it is not the devil's drug, as it was viewed in the not-so-factual movie of the 1940's - Reefer Madness.
Dan Flanagan, Toronto, Nov. 24

As people try marijuana (whatever the reason) and compare experiences with other stimulants they realize that pot is a benign drug. Impairment is minimal, it is not addictive and it is less harmful than alcohol or cigarettes.
Renzo Zanchetta, Windsor, Nov. 24

Due to greater access to balanced information on marijuana, no longer does irrational government/conservative-coalition-propagated fear, or conversely, the idea of indulging to "be cool", govern a person's choice to use marijuana. People are now making Read More ..ucated and rational choices based on what the sweet leaf may offer them in itself, and not necessarily based on its perceived social status and/or implications.
Luke Bagatto, Vaughan, Nov. 24

I believe that the increase is due to cultural changes and information. People, especially young adults, see pot as both harmless and recreational. Also, availability is another issue where the underground supply is enormous.
Kevin Macallin, Toronto, Nov. 24