An Alberta MLA is afraid the legalization of cannabis might lead to a "human tragedy" similar to the communist revolution in China. (We're not kidding.)
Ron Orr, an MLA for the United Conservative Party and culture and tourism critic in our neighbouring province, drew parallels between trends of opium use in China and cannabis use in Canada on Wednesday at the Alberta legislature.
"I won't argue that there may be some medical benefits to a very carefully understood and medically prescribed marijuana as well, but the problem is when it moves from a medical product into a social entertainment kind of a piece," he said.
He criticized the "lust" of governments looking to profit off of recreational drug use, and noted that Chinese culture was "decimated" by opium addicts after China became dependent on tax revenues from the "fashionable refined pastime" of opium use.
"We have today a fashionable refined pastime amongst the young, which is smoking marijuana, and unfortunately now it leads to other things that are much more dangerous and much more destructive," he said.
"Their whole society was so broken down and debilitated by it," he said, "that it contributed to the Chinese cultural revolution under the communists, the execution of thousands of people... and I, for one, am not really willing to go down this road."
Orr, a former pastor, prophesied a similar fate for Canada.
"The human tragedy of what's going to happen with this is yet to be revealed," he said. "It doesn't lead to the good life—it's an escape."
Twitter users were quick to shoot down his ideas.
Is anyone that surprised Ron Orr has super out dated ideas regarding marijuana? He was on the board of a Church that shunned a member from their community simply for saying he is gay. And he repeatedly voted against Gay-Straight Alliances. https://t.co/ygZhkLcvhW #AbLeg— Dave Beninger (@DaveBeninger) November 30, 2017
I have a degree in Asian history so let’s talk about @RonOrrMLA’s claim that the opium trade led to “a number of serious wars.”— Matt Hayles (@mathayles) November 30, 2017
It did, but not in a way that remotely helps Orr’s argument against cannabis legalization.
Let me explain. #AbLeg #abpoli https://t.co/jj7TlmiFak