Pubdate: Tue, 08 Aug 2000
Date: 08/08/2000
Source: Victoria Times-Colonist (CN BC)
Author: David Ovans
Re: The Ontario ruling regarding prohibition ("Ontario ruling spells hope
for B.C. pot advocates," Aug. 1).

The recent Ontario Appeal Court decision does not address the true
problem with cannabis prohibition. Cannabis prohibition has never been
the will of the people. According to the Feb. 24, 1938, House of
Commons debates, when the ban of cultivation was deliberated, "You can
go for 800 miles or so through the West in probably every other garden
you will find this weed. ... The government should work in secret with
the provinces and municipalities to eradicate this weed."

Marijuana and hemp are the same species, just like a Chihuahua and a
mutt are both dogs. When marijuana was banned so was hemp. Yet if you
turn to the February, 1938 copy of Popular Mechanics you can read an
article stating that "10,000 acres devoted to hemp will produce as
much paper as 40,000 acres of average pulp land."

To me, the underlying justification for the ban is not credible. It is
far easier for me to believe that the motivational force behind
prohibition was people using their power to defend personal financial

Today, pharmaceutical, timber and petro-chemical industries are all
motivated to back candidates who will perpetuate the ban. The courts
and the police benefit with increased man hours. The privatized
American prison system is rewarded with a steady supply of labour for
cotton farms and other work projects. Even the black market suppliers
want prohibition to continue because of the fear of taxation and regulation.

All this support virtually guarantees the perpetuation of the law, but
it does not make the law a good one. No other law teaches so many
people that the police are not to be trusted.

David Ovans,