Pubdate: Thu, 10 Oct 2002
Source: Carillon, The (CN MB)
Copyright: 2002 The Carillon
Author: Chris Buors


I thank Bill Giesbrecht for engaging in the debate Senator Pierre-Claude 
Nolin hoped Canadians would have.

The Senate committee-cognizant of societal fears and misconceptions about 
the effect of cannabis on driving-dedicated an entire chapter to the subject.

In a nutshell the report concluded: "Cannabis alone, particularly in low 
doses, has little effect on the skills involved in automobile driving ... 
Cannabis leads to a more cautious style of driving ... (Cannabis does have) 
a negative impact on decision time and trajectory; (however) this in itself 
does not mean that drivers under the influence of cannabis represent a 
traffic safety risk."

In sum, cannabis users are by far safer than a tired driver or one who may 
be using one of the thousands of drugs available at the local pharmacy. The 
crime is in driving impaired. The impairment substance ought not matter, 
alcohol, cannabis or anything else. We have a duty to ourselves and others 
to know about any impairment a drug will render to our judgment, even Aspirin.

I agree with Mr. Giesbrecht that King Solomon was indeed a very wise man 
and personally I, having learnt my lesson the hard way, now abstain from 
alcohol. However, as reported by the Senate, cannabis does not have the 
same effects as alcohol or tobacco or coffee. Any teen who has smoked 
cannabis, drunk alcohol or coffee, or smoked a cigarette will consider 
their own experience.

Playing video games that require great dexterity and timing is easy to do 
having smoked a cannabis joint, having had a coffee or a cola soda. The 
same individual may not be able to operate the "on" switch having consumed 

I empathize with Mr. Giesbrecht's grief concerning damage alcohol has 
contributed to society. However, I ask you to consider that in my community 
there are now a dozen or so bodies attributable to black market forces 
vying for control of a very lucrative market. They are somebody's loved 
ones and we are all God's creatures. Not to mention there are a number of 
Manitobans who poison themselves with adulterated street drugs and die each 

The comparisons to 1930s alcohol prohibition, when many went blind or died, 
as well as deaths due to gangsters in charge of distribution, is eerie. The 
damage done to society by prohibition is by far more harmful than the 
damage done by whatever abused substance is a theme repeated throughout 

Were the drug laws to be struck down, truthful information could be 
imparted to the children. I would never condone drug use, just as I do not 
condone alcohol consumption. I believe more lives could be saved if drug 
users had a safe supply and proper information available at the pharmacy. 
Crime would be reduced because, absent prohibition, heroin and cocaine 
would cost about the same as coffee pound for pound. At those prices, those 
who lust for pleasurable experiences can flip hamburgers to pay for their 
habit instead of resorting to crime.

When the gluttonous have had their fill, they can be welcomed back into 
mainstream society absent criminal records. They are our brother and 
sisters, our aunts and our uncles, our moms and our dads, they are sinners, 
they are not criminals. In answer to the ancient Roman question of who 
benefits? from restoring our natural rights, we all do.

Chris Buors

Winnipeg MB
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