Pubdate: Tue, 05 Nov 2002
Source: Parksville Qualicum Beach News (CN BC)
Copyright: 2002 Parksville Qualicum Beach News
Author: Mark Russell


Re: Senator Nolan's letter, "Get the right message on pot."

For an appointed not elected bureaucrat, Sen. Nolan's letter certainly was 
an enlightened, and honest look at the controversial issues surrounding the 
drug war in general and the senate special committee report on illegal 
drugs as it regards cannabis.

The senator hit the nail on the head on several points in his letter.

The main one being the fact that many people didn't listen to or 
misunderstood what was written. This happened almost immediately back in 
September. Those who want to perpetuate the drug war jumped on the report 
like it was written by the devil himself One of the first things said was a 
slight on the committee member's ethics and abilities. "They're appointed 
not elected, therefore their opinions carry no weight."

The prohibitionists dismissed the committee's report so quickly after its 
release there's no way they could have read it thoroughly. A good example 
was the issue about allowing children as young as 16 legal access to marijuana.

The prohibitionists want us to believe the report endorses childhood drug 
use. It doesn't. The report didn't recommend this but its detractors sure 
made it sound that way. Didn't they? Prohibition adherents will have a hard 
time accepting the senate committee's findings because they fly in the face 
of everything they've come to know about cannabis. (Or everything they've 
been told about cannabis, remember Reefer Madness?) Some of the other 
issues cleared up by the Senator's letter include: 1. The goal of the drug 
war, a completely drug free society, is unattainable and unrealistic.

2. We shouldn't prosecute, persecute, or try to cage people for ingesting a 

3. Harm-Reduction: (education, treatment, and prevention), not using the 
law to bulldoze the problem away is the common sense approach to the issue 
of drug abuse.

4. The committee heard from justice and police officials and considered 
their submissions. The senators dismissed much of what the authorities 
described as the evils of marijuana use. For instance the committee found 
that marijuana wasn't the gateway drug it's reported to be . In fact the 
gateway was exposure to criminal dealers who have to push other wares like 
heroin, cocaine and pills .

The most important conclusions to come out of the report refer to our civil 
liberties and rights. The committee recommended that the federal government 
respect Canadians, abilities to make decisions for ourselves, to respect 
the fact that we can make wise choices regarding cannabis.

The government should presume that we deserve to be treated with dignity 
and respect, but they haven't done so as long as this drug war has been 
going on, some 70 years now.

Please call Ottawa and tell them to give their head a shake.
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