Pubdate: Fri, 04 Oct 2002
Source: Medicine Hat News (CN AB)
Copyright: 2002 Alberta Newspaper Group, Inc.
Author: Devin Olmstead


Re: Prepare for legalization of marijuana, Medicine Hat News, Oct. 2. Drug
dealers are hurting? I couldn't stop laughing when I heard that tall tale.
Neither Canada nor America have any idea how much narcotics enter the
continent. They only know the inflated dollar value of the busts they make.
So if based on this information the government doesn't know the impact busts
are having, how does Del Egan know?

Why would the government need dealers to manufacture and sell marijuana?
It's not like pot has to be distilled or created in a lab. Anyone with basic
gardening skills can grow high-quality marijuana.

Almost three-quarters of the retail price of tobacco in Canada is tax. The
federal government profits the most from tobacco sales, not the tobacco
companies. I'm not sure where Egan gets his information, but he should find
a more reliable source. It is true that 100 years ago patent medicines were
a problem and the pharmaceutical industry was unregulated. Modern drugs
should be monitored and tested to ensure they are safe and effective.
However, this is not the case even today. Plenty of drugs have side effects
that range from mild to death. Many are released with claims of efficacy
that are later proven to be false.

Opiates, cocaine, and marijuana have been around for thousands of years.
There is no mystery as to what harm they do or don't do or what their
effects are. They are all relatively safe. The largest obstacle to
legalization in Canada is the American government and its threats.

I would love for there to be a referendum on the subject as I think you
would find that Egan is dead wrong about public opinion. Prime Minister Jean
Chretien, as well as prime minster Pierre Trudeau and many other
politicians, have at one time or another supported legalization, but they
have had to face the reality of American trade sanctions. Someone has to
have the guts to stand up for what is right. I don't care if it's the
Senate, Parliament, or the Supreme Court. The GST has nothing to do with
legalization of narcotics, and misinformation and fear mongering by people
like Del Egan does not help the situation at all.

Devin Olmstead
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