Pubdate: Wed, 22 Aug 2001
Source: Winnipeg Free Press (CN MB)
Copyright: 2001 Winnipeg Free Press
Authors: Alan Randell, Chris Buors,  Brian L. Fish


Re: Rules for cannabis, (Aug. 17). "U.S. authorities will need reassurance 
that Canada will not become a haven for criminal gangs smuggling marijuana 
into the U.S."

You're kidding, right? There is no way on God's green Earth we can stop it. 
If it weren't for Canada's "criminal gangs" smuggling alcohol into the 
U.S., Seagrams would never have been born.

Alan Randell

Studies Indicate Cannabis Smokers Safer

"Cannabis is a mind-altering drug; it is dangerous to operate heavy 
machinery or drive under its influence" said the editorial Rules for cannabis.

If that statement were true there would be a lot more traffic and 
industrial accidents than we presently see. Comparably, motorists are in 
far more danger from drivers distracted by cell phones or drivers who lack 
proper rest and get behind the wheel. There are peer-reviewed driving 
studies that proved cannabis smokers were actually safer than those who are 
high on life.

See or or

Chris Buors

Marijuana Tourism Will Offset Lumber Duty

Your editorial Rules for cannabis (Aug. 17) regarding the current fiasco on 
medical marijuana in Canada makes eminent sense. As long ago as the 2000 
Liberal convention in Ottawa, the federal Liberal party, on an initiative 
from Alberta was calling for decriminalization of marijuana. I am pleased 
to see that many Canadians now see the sense in this -- at least. It is 
bound to be legalized sooner or later.

What is missing from much of the debate, however, is a discussion of why it 
was made illegal in the first place. It was racism and xenophobia generated 
in the U.S. In Canada, this insanity was taken up by Judge Emily Murphy of 
Edmonton. Most Canadians at the time hadn't a clue what it was but images 
of "reefer madness" induced Parliament to make it illegal.

Now we know much better. But the U.S. administration, particularly through 
the Drug Enforcement Agency doesn't. Your comment that U.S. authorities 
will need assurance that Canada will not become a haven for criminal gangs 
smuggling marijuana into the U.S. prompts me to ask why we should be 
seeking U.S. approval for anything. Holland did not seek the permission of 
Germany before liberalizing its treatment of marijuana. Most of Europe is 
now following its example.

May I make a modest proposal. We legalize marijuana and issue licences to 
the entrepreneurs across the country to grow, distribute and sell it. We 
provide it in regulated small quantities to all of our duty-free shops in 
every part of the country.

Our income from the flood of American tourists will more than offset our 
losses in the current softwood lumber dispute. It's time for our 
politicians to play hardball with Washington. As our biggest friend and 
neighbour, don't we owe it to them to give a friendly nudge in the 
direction of greater sanity?

Brian L. Fish
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