Pubdate: Sat, 28 Sep 2002
Source: Medicine Hat News (CN AB)
Copyright: 2002 Alberta Newspaper Group, Inc.
Author: Devin Olmstead


Perhaps you have heard me refer to the drug laws in Canada as racist and 
you think perhaps I am mad. Well, I would like to clear it up for you.

In 1871 gold was discovered along the Fraser River in B.C. There was a dire 
need for labourers to work the mines so 19,000 Chinese immigrants were 
lured to Canada with promises of wealth. The immigrants were also used to 
build the national railway and as a result of the brutal working conditions 
4,000 of them perished to see it finished.

When the mines were exhausted and the railway completed, there was no more 
work. As a result there was a huge unemployed Chinese population living in 
shanty-towns in Vancouver. These men would do any work for extremely low 
wages and were therefore seen as a threat to the local white working class. 
The Chinese lived in deplorable [portion omitted on website] prohibition 
was built using the existing opium laws.

In America the prohibition of marijuana came about in a similar situation 
involving migrant Mexican workers who, of course, almost exclusively used 

The American government, in what can only be described as unbelievable, 
created a tax law in an attempt to prohibit marijuana. The basis and 
support for this law was one professor who said that marijuana caused 
"insanity, criminality, and death." This same man was threatened and 
successfully deterred with ruination by his superiors for successfully 
testifying for the defense in several murder trials. In all of these trials 
acquittal was secured on the basis that marijuana had made the murderer insane.

Our government was then convinced that marijuana did in fact cause 
"insanity, criminality, and death" and the Opium and Narcotic Drug Act of 
1923 was born. Since these farces have occurred, the government has, for 
the most part, slowly begin to realize and admit that it was all a mistake.

However, increasing insanity to the south and a desire not to offend has 
caused the movement to legalize in Canada to stall for the last 20 years. 
In fact, since Nancy Reagan's "Just say No" campaign started the colossal 
human rights violation known as the war on drugs, we have even tightened 
the laws.

Bill C-7 was given royal assent in March 2000. The funny and 
surrealistically insane thing about all of this talk of legalization is 
that anyone putting pen to paper in favour of legalization is a criminal. 
In 1988 during the height of the drug war while the Americans were spraying 
paraquat on Mexican children and murdering farmers and their families in 
Columbia, a little-known violation of free speech was added to the Canadian 
criminal code. Section 462.2 was added stating; "Everyone who knowingly 
imports into Canada, exports from Canada, manufactures, promotes or sells 
instruments or literature for illicit drug use is guilty of an offense and 
is liable on summary conviction."

People have actually been charged for distributing pamphlets promoting the 
legalization of cannabis. It is almost too much for me to comprehend. A 
true exercise in insanity.

Devin Olmstead
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