Pubdate: Tue, 08 Aug 2000
Source: Halifax Daily News (CN NS)
Copyright: 2000 The Daily News.
Author: Bob O'Neill


To the editor:

George Publicover's letter in the Aug. 2 issue of your paper cannot
remain unchallenged. The last argument against the legalization of
marijuana should be the Amsterdam (and all of Holland's) experience
with relaxed control of the substance. To suggest that the cleanliness
of the city is related to pot use is silly in the extreme.  I have
visited Amsterdam many times, and it never struck me as a dirty city.

It has a very high concentration of people compared with Halifax, and
I think they are as responsible with their environment as we are,
especially where the treatment of sewage is concerned. As for many
strung-out people wandering the streets at night; again, I must disagree.

My experiences are just the opposite. I always found the streets to be
quiet and safe at night. Certainly much safer than downtown Halifax
when the drunks are out in force. The truth? Most pot is acquired and
consumed in the many "coffee shops" that exist unobtrusively
throughout the city. The product is high quality and relatively
inexpensive. Non-smokers take no notice of the shops because they
aren't interested. The Amsterdam experience showed me that drug use is
a personal choice. Certain personalities are prone to addiction
problems, whatever the substance. Availability is not the determining
factor in the level of usage. But it has a lot to do with the crime
that is clearly associated with illicit trafficking.

As long as the hypocrisy and fallacies surrounding marijuana exist in
our society, we will continue to live with elevated criminal activity,
inappropriate use of police and justice system resources, and worst of
all, general disrespect for our laws. I suggest the police discontinue
the enforcement of marijuana laws until the politicians legislate them
out of existence.

Bob O'Neill,
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