Pubdate: Wed,  8 Aug 2001
Source: Ottawa Citizen (CN ON)
Copyright: 2001 The Ottawa Citizen
Author: Richard Dow
Related Article:


Re: Don't legalize marijuana, police tell health minister, Aug. 4.

RCMP Chief Supt. Robert Lesser said there has not been enough
scientific study into the health effects of marijuana. He's wrong.

The Le Dain commission, in its 1972 report on cannabis, included a
vast bibliography on cannabis and its effects that contains 682
references, back to and including the 1893 report of the Indian Hemp
Commission. The Le Dain commission recommended that Canada at least
repeal the prohibition against simple possession of marijuana. Since
that report, the Centre for Addictions and Mental Health, among many
other public health organizations, has taken the position that
criminal sanctions are not the way to deal with cannabis use.

Police oppose the legalization of marijuana to protect their
self-serving interests. It is not that there have not been enough
scientific studies done, but that there are empires to be built by the
police brass.

As former Toronto mayor John Sewell wrote in a recent article in Eye
Magazine, "Drug charges have almost doubled since 1996 -- 10,550
charges were laid last year against 4,100 persons -- although more
than half the charges are for simple marijuana possession. One can see
why the Toronto police are not in favour of decriminalizing marijuana
possession: without those charges, there would be a visible enough
drop in the numbers to weaken police calls for more money."

Richard Dow,
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