Pubdate: Sat, 07 Sep 2002
Source: Guardian, The (CN PI)
Copyright: 2002 The Guardian, Charlottetown Guardian Group Incorporated
Author: Shaun MacNeill
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Canada)



I am writing to express my support for the Senate's recommendation to
legalize the use and possession of marijuana. For far too long, thousands of
good and otherwise law-abiding citizens have been persecuted (and
prosecuted) for their use of a substance no more harmful than tobacco or
alcohol. It is ridiculous, given the scientific evidence that supports a
rethinking of our attitudes towards pot, that someone can still be sent to
jail and saddled with a permanent criminal record for recreational cannabis

I take offence at the Canadian Police Association's reference to a
"back-to-school gift" for drug pushers. This is the kind of emotive drug-war
language that tries to sidestep any reasonable debate about the issue, and
invokes the tired "what about the children" argument.

The facts are that a lot of young people currently smoke pot. Criminalizing
cannabis has done nothing to change this, and by making it illegal, an
underground industry has been created that funds criminal activities and
exposes young and old cannabis users to these criminal elements. Legalizing
cannabis would dry up these criminal funds, allow regulation in the sale and
use of cannabis, and free up all the police resources (and they are
significant) that are currently wasted fighting a war with no winner. With
these extra person-hours, the police could more effectively deal with the
issues that actually threaten the well-being of Canadians, young and old

There are still issues that should be worked out in our legislature by
elected officials. I think 16 is too young - 18 or 19 would be more
appropriate. We would need to modify impaired driving laws to prohibit
"smoking and driving". However, these small outstanding issues do not
justify criminalizing those people who do nothing more harmful than smoke a
joint and root through the fridge for a snack.

Shaun MacNeill,

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