Boyle McCauley News

Since 1979 • July 2020 • Circulation 5500

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Why Total Strangers Don’t Want You To Smoke

For a long time, I didn’t think the day would come when pot would be legalized. I am not against marijuana and I support harm reduction. However, taking an honest look at smoking in general, marijuana always seemed to be more powerful than tobacco.

However, it is only fair to mention that marijuana has beneficial effects. I have heard about cannabinoid oils easing pain, lowering effects of Multiple Sclerosis and other ailments. But as a person living with a mental illness, I caution people, especially as I give the researched presentations developed by Psychiatrists for the Schizophrenia Society, that a young, chronic user increases the possibility of developing psychosis, (a state of severe separation from reality), by as much as 40% by using THC products.

In places such as bars, restaurants, and public buildings of any kind there has been no smoking for years. Some businesses are having problems not only enforcing these rules, but also in not having people “camp out” in smoking areas. The litter, noise, and smoke drive away customers.

So, legally, where does the individual stand when it comes to smoking in their own home? Simply stated, if you own your own house, you can smoke in it. If you are renting, you can legally be told to butt out in any part of the property or face eviction. Condos and housing co-ops are also going towards being non-smoking, as boards change they bylaws. In a McCauley residence near me, there were at least two people I know of evicted over smoking. It seemed very unfair, legal or not.

However, to speak from the landlord’s viewpoint, I do think it is valid to state that the risk of fires drops greatly when smoking is banned. The cost of cleaning suites after smokers move out is another factor. Non-smoking simply makes good business sense, not even mentioning the horrendous expense and foul odour of tobacco. Then there are the psychotropic effects of even second-hand marijuana smoke.

I want to mention that not only am I an ex-smoker, but also that I literally watched a family member die in my arms from a smoking-related illness, and I saw another family member destroy their health and sanity by excessive marijuana use. So, I would simply like those who differ in opinion with me to keep in consideration the fact that their own lives and their own mental health are as important as anyone’s, and that as you fight for your right to smoke and toke, please remember that others are fighting for you to quit, because they care.

_Leif lives in McCauley. His books can be found at the Edmonton Public Library or at Mint Health + Drugs on 96 Street. You can visit his website at

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