Pubdate: Tue, 12 Nov 2002
Source: Daily News, The (CN NS)
Copyright: 2002 The Daily News
Author: Bruce Symington


To the editor:

One of the problems with letters to the editor is that anyone can say
anything, and be as misleading as they like, and there is no accountability.
Witness the letter written by C. Gwendolyn Landolt, Senator Blowing Smoke On
Pot, in the Nov. 2 Daily News.

Landolt states that in The Netherlands, under a liberalized
cannabis-distribution scheme for the past 25 years, cannabis use has risen
by 250 per cent. What she does not state is that the increase in North
America during the same time has been much greater than that, and that total
use here is much higher on a per-capita basis than there. She also fails to
mention that youth consumption there is much lower than here.

She states that 80 per cent of the witnesses before the Senate's special
committee were in favour of liberalizing cannabis laws. She fails to state
why that is. The reason is, there is no good argument to be made for
retaining these repressive, ill-advised laws.

She states that Senator Pierre Claude Nolin's assertion that the commission
is not endorsing recreational use is not correct. Yet everything that I have
seen written by and about the Nolin report states that they are looking at
ways to deal with an already flourishing recreational cannabis situation,
not encouraging it.

Landolt states that pot is addictive - it is not. She says it should not be
considered innocuous use - it should. She states there is little doubt that
cannabis intoxication contributes substantially to accidental deaths and
injuries among adolescents, yet fails to back up this, or any of her other
outrageous statements by quoting any studies (there are none) or giving any
statistical data.

The Senate committee reviewed the available facts, studies and statistics,
and compared the way we deal with cannabis here with other parts of the
world. Its hearings were open to anyone in the country to make
presentations, and their report is subject to public scrutiny and criticism,
as were the LeDain commission of the 1970s; the Schaffer commission in the
U.S. in the 1960s; and the World Health Organization report of a couple of
years ago, all of which concurred that cannabis is a mild drug, less
damaging than many other legal and illegal drugs, and its criminalization is

This has not stopped hysterics such as Landolt, however. Their minds are
made up, and do not wish to be confused by facts. They are, however, very

Bruce Symington
Medicine Hat, Alta.
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