Pubdate: Wed, 25 Jul 2001
Source: North Shore News (CN BC)
Copyright: 2001 North Shore News
Author: Andrew Bankley
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Canada)
Bookmark: (Decrim/Legalization)


Dear Editor:

Re: Leo Knight's column, "Top B.C. industry needs attention," July 11.

While I agree with Leo Knight's assertion that B.C.'s number one 
industry ". . . merits some sort of attention" I found his supporting 
evidence for any thoughtful attention to the decriminalization issue 
to be lacking in scope, balance, and logic. Any informed discussion 
on cannabis, and its more popular by-product, marijuana, certainly 
merits more than Knight's tired and uninformed rhetoric.

Put another way, Knight's approach is in need of serious "weeding" 
because his take on the issue merely demonstrates his own biases. The 
fact that cannabis has thousands of other industrial applications, 
and potential economic benefits, appears to have been neglected, but 
is all the more revealing. The more pressing question, of why popular 
opinion in Canada is beginning to favour decriminalization, was 
barely even addressed.

Knight really "misses the boat" when discussing marijuana in the 
context of organized crime. While it may be said that organized crime 
has established itself as a major player in B.C.'s biggest cash crop, 
you can bet that if power saws became illegal (because of their 
hazardous potential) organized crime would be cashing in on them as 
well. Therefore, it is just as misleading to associate marijuana with 
organized crime, when it is but one of many prohibited commodities 
that can be exploited with the assistance of antiquated legislation.

It was startling to hear Knight go on to say that, "Even if this 
country legalized marijuana tomorrow, the U.S. of A. will never 
entertain the idea as a country." Fair enough, but while organized 
crime may continue to exploit the huge American market for B.C. bud, 
I could honestly care less.

Last time I checked, Canada was a sovereign nation, and judging by 
the current swell in popular opinion which favours decriminalization 
in this country, we certainly won't need permission from the 
Americans if we do go through with it.

In the aftermath of decriminalization, Knight ponders, "So what then? 
Do we say OK, then let's legalize all drugs?" The short, and 
responsible, answer to this question is, "No, of course not." 
Marijuana has been scientifically proven to be both non-addictive, 
and far less harmful than other legal drugs such as tobacco and 
alcohol. It certainly follows then, that more harmful drugs should be 
dealt with separately.

So, while I agree that B.C.'s number one industry does merit ". . . 
some sort of attention," Leo Knight's readership is only left to 
guess which "brand" this would be.

Andrew Bankley
North Vancouver
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