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One Islander is taking a stand against the legalization of marijuana. Mitch Reid, a member of Charlottetown (Prince Edward Island) Christian Reformed Church, has launched a petition against a proposed policy to legalize marijuana in Canada.

Reid plans to submit his petition to his Member of Parliament, Sean Casey. As he canvasses the Island, with a few hundred signatures already collected, Reid hopes his petition will gain support across the country.

Canada’s newly-elected Liberal government campaigned on a promise to remove consumption and incidental possession of marijuana from the criminal code. In December it announced plans to design a new system to legalize, regulate, and restrict access to marijuana.

“Once it is legal, local stores will carry it, and marijuana will be easier to access,” said Reid. That access, he said, will bring greater problems.

Reid is actively involved with helping those who suffer from addiction. Three years ago, he began “Take the First Step,” a ministry in his church to spread a message of hope in Christ to people with addiction and to their families. Working with organizations such as Teen Challenge and Solomon’s Porch, and also ministering on the streets, the ministry connects people to agencies that provide help.

“Through the stories that I’ve heard, a common thread through those who struggled with drug addiction has been that it was marijuana that started it, and then they wanted something more,” explained Reid. 

Reid has experienced positive responses but also backlash to his petition. “If you speak with any 10 people, you could get 10 different opinions,” he explained. “A petition creates debate instead of ignoring this issue. As a church, I think we can [lead] others to think about their opinion and talk about it.”

For Reid, this petition is about providing those with first-hand experience of addiction with the space to protest and to add their name. Their desire to sign confirms for him the importance of his petition. “It makes me want to work harder,” he said. 

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