Pubdate: Wed, 11 Oct 2000
Source: Chatham This Week (CN ON)
Copyright: 2000 Bowes Publishers Limited
Contact:  930 Richmond St., Chatham, Ont. N7M 5J5 Canada
Fax: (519) 351-7774
Authors: Richard Dow and Jason Lalancette
Note: 2 PUB LTEs


Dear editor:

In response to your editorial, "Legalize marijuana? No way man", I would 
have to say that I fail to see any logic in the author's argument. On the 
one hand the author of this piece argues the prohibition of alcohol was an 
absolute disaster -- which it was. On the other hand they appear to argue 
for the prohibition of marijuana despite the disastrous consequences of 
such prohibition.

Marijuana is a substance which, by many accounts, is no more harmful than 
alcohol and tobacco. However, by the very nature of its illegality we 
thrust a multitude of negative consequences upon its users and society. 
Exposing marijuana users to dealers of other drugs, feeding billions of 
dollars into the hands of organized criminals / bike gangs, increased 
violence from dealers fighting turf wars, handing out criminal records to 
otherwise law-abiding citizens, denying the right to travel / employment as 
a result of marijuana convictions -- these are the consequences of our 
current prohibitionist policies.

I admit the use of marijuana does not come without consequence --but surely 
if you weigh these consequences against the consequences of prohibition you 
would have to admit the prohibition of marijuana is also an "absolute 

I would also argue the author's points against allowing marijuana to be 
used by the sick are illogical. The author admits marijuana provides "a 
measure of compassionate relief" but goes on to say "because marijuana 
cultivation, marijuana possession, and marijuana use continue to be illegal 
in Canada, we'd best be very cautious in administering its sanctioned use".

I would point to such drugs as heroin and morphine. Both are illegal 
substances -- both highly addictive and used by addicts --which, however, 
can be prescribed by a physician. The legal use of heroin or morphine has 
no relation to the illicit use of these substances nor would the legal 
prescribing of marijuana to AIDS, MS and glaucoma patients have any impact 
on the recreational use of this drug.

I would say the author's argument seems based on what is known as a 
circular argument -- you better not legalize marijuana -- for medical or 
any other use -- because marijuana is illegal. I would also say, as a 
medium of information regarding such an important topic your newspaper has 
a responsibility to provide much better thought out perspectives to the public.

Richard Dow, Toronto


Dear editor:

In your editorial on Sept. 20 about marijuana, you says, "But we just don't 
know. Through our ignorance and unwillingness to think beyond conventional 
terms, we've managed as a society to relegate too many useful herbs and 
plants to the trash heap of potential."

I would argue that it is not "we" who are unwilling to study these herbs, 
but Health Canada, which has deliberately forced any studies of marijuana 
to focus on the negative effects, by refusing to provide cannabis to any 
study which could find politically "incorrect" results.

The Food and Drug Administration and the Drug Enforcement Agency in the US 
have also refused in this manner to allow positive studies to take place.

Is it any wonder then that "we" don't know of many officially sanctioned 
studies to show the benefits of cannabis or, for that matter, many other 
herbs, extracts, and natural products such as stevia, melatonin, etc.?

Jason Lalancette, Saanich, BC
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