Pubdate: Wed, 30 May 2001
Source: Kelowna Capital News (BC)
Copyright: 2001, Kelowna Capital News Ltd.
Author: Dylan Fraser
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Canada)


To the editor:

Regardless of one's stance on the issue, the issue of drug legislation
in this country, particularly with the case of marijuana, is incredibly
simple: Whether opposed to legalization of marijuana in any form or in
favour of it in every form, the current laws are both hypocritical and
ridiculous and must be changed.

Currently the drug laws in this country attempt to take a practical,
rather than principled approach. They are not of the position that
recreational drug use of any kind is fundamentally wrong, nor are they
of the position that it is a fundamental right to be able to
recreationally use any drug one wishes.

Rather they permit certain drugs, such as alcohol and tobacco to be
used, while others such as marijuana remain illegal.

With a position such as this, the only reasonable justification for the
ban of a drug would be that it was more harmful and detrimental to
society than the others that can remain safely legal.

In the case of Canada this amounts to the government and its legislation
saying that marijuana is sufficiently more dangerous and harmful than
alcohol and tobacco, for it to be classed as illegal while the other two
remain legal. If the extreme absurdity of this idea is not already
blatantly apparent then a comparison of marijuana to alcohol and tobacco
should be enlightening.

Alcohol accounts for approximately 15 per cent of all drug-related
deaths in this country. When used in moderate to larger amounts alcohol
is also severely mood altering and judgment impairing.

In the USA, nearly half of all fatal car accidents, and one half of all
murders, accidental deaths and suicides involve alcohol.

In 217 rape cases reported to the Winnipeg police between 1966 and 1975,
72 per cent were considered alcohol related.

Tobacco accounts for approximately 83 per cent of all drug-related
deaths in this country, which numerically means thousands of people each

Marijuana is a mildly mood-altering drug, and is said to bring about
relaxation and calmness. Though the research on marijuana is not as
extensive as for alcohol and tobacco, in Canada there have been no
recorded deaths as a direct or indirect result of marijuana use.

In view of the record on this issue it seems foolish to assume that if
marijuana were legalized it would cause substantially more problems than
either alcohol or tobacco. In fact it would seem almost the opposite.

With this in mind the problem must be resolved: should all drugs be
banned, should all drugs be made legal, or should society protect itself
from the most dangerous drugs by making only them illegal?

In any event, current government legislation does not represent any of
these positions (leaving one to ponder what it does in fact represent),
and it therefore must be radically altered.

Dylan Fraser, Westbank
- ---
MAP posted-by: Doc-Hawk