Novotny said the forum will not focus on recreational marijuana use. Instead, he said, the discussion will centre on the medical aspects of marijuana and how legalization can contribute to harm-reduction efforts. The medical discussions will be led by Novotny himself, he said, with help from a retired nurse who has since become a cannabis consultant.
“She’s worked in healthcare for many, many years,” he said. “She will be presenting on the healthcare side.”
Novotny said the discussion will also touch on the ways communities can maximize the social benefits of legal marijuana while minimizing the potential harms. Many are concerned about increased crime after legalization, he said, while others worry about youth having easy access to the drug. A former police officer is on the list of presenters to discuss the potential criminal implications.
“We’re going to go over different things like increased crime rates, the elimination of the black market, impaired driving, and policing,” he said.
Much of the general public does not draw any distinction between medical and recreational use of marijuana, Novotny said, but there are many significant differences between the two. He said many of the people treated with medicinal cannabis do not experience any of the psychoactive effects sought out by recreational users.
“We’ve taken people away from smoking cannabis, and have implemented much safer applications for them, medically,” he added.
Unlike the United States, Novotny said Canada is focusing its legalization efforts on the recreational side, which he expects will have a significant effect on those who, like himself, consume the drug medically. Legalization without proper attention to the needs of medical users could force users to acquire their medical cannabis through a recreational-use shop or even the black market, he said, which is a major concern.
The community cannabis forum will be held Jan. 30 at the John M. Cuelenaere Public Library from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Novotny said the forum’s attendance list is filling up fast, but some seats are still available. Those interested in attending the forum were asked to RSVP by contacting Novotny by email.
On Twitter: @TaylorMacP
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