Noah Boakye-Yiadom leads a discussion on cannabis and what legalization means to the community and to Albertan’s health during the Cannabis Let’s Talk session, April 24. Photo by Megan Roth/Eckville Echo

Noah Boakye-Yiadom leads a discussion on cannabis and what legalization means to the community and to Albertan’s health during the Cannabis Let’s Talk session, April 24. Photo by Megan Roth/Eckville Echo

Eckville residents discuss the impact of cannabis

The Cannabis Let’s Talk was held at the Eckville Legion, April 24

Eckville welcomed discussion and conversation around the topic of cannabis legalization at the recent Cannabis Let’s Talk event.

Noah Boakye-Yiadom, was one of the presenters from Alberta Health Services (AHS) and lead the discussion held at the Legion on April 24.

Boakye-Yiadom said for a topic with as much controversy as cannabis creating a dialogue between people is very important.

“There is a lot of knowledge and wisdom in this room,” Boakye-Yiadom said of the event with roughly 15 people in attendance. “Magic happens when you bring knowledge and wisdom together.

Creating a back-and-forth on a topic between regular people, government and health series provides helps to get everyone on the same page, according to Boakye-Yiadom.

Discussions, like the one that occurred in Eckville, help the people show the government what they find important.

“As far as I know, there hasn’t been another piece of legislation that has created this much dialogue,” said Boakye-Yiadom.

From the perspective of AHS, the important part of the legalization is to prevent and minimize the possibilities of problematic use in our society.

Currently, with cannabis restricted and illegal, it is easily available, especially to young people.

AHS says once the substance is legalized, the use and problematic use will actually decrease overall, rather than increase.

The information is based on Portugal, which has legalized all illicit substances across the board.

“We believe the illegal market will look for ways to legitimize, much like what has happened in Portugal,” said Boakye-Yiadom.

The markets will change and be safer for those who do use cannabis, according to Boakye-Yiadom. Part of the information coming from Portugal is the emphasis on mental health of those purchasing the substances.

Boakye-Yiadom says mental health is often a contributing factor to those who purchase and use drugs such as cannabis.

“We will likely see something similar, where the mental health of the customer is taken into consideration.

“The purchases in Portugal are ‘no questions asked’ but they are asked how they are feeling and how things are going for them,” Boakye-Yiadom explained.

Boakye-Yiadom says to expect innovation and new ways to use cannabis with the legalization, because health groups such as AHS advise against using it as an inhalant.

The important part of the legalization of cannabis is to be educated.

“These sessions are about spreading education about the product and what it means for our communities after legalization,” said Boakye-Yiadom.

The Cannabis Let’s Talk session originally began in Lloydminster, Alta. in 2006. Since then it has spread, and AHS is using it as a base to prepare communities throughout Alberta.

Alberta Health Services recently received a grant to present Cannabis Let’s Talk sessions throughout Central Alberta.

There is a session planned to next be held in the City of Lacombe.



megan.roth@eckvilleecho.com

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