Pubdate: Fri, 27 Dec 2002
Source: Daily News, The (CN NS)
Copyright: 2002 The Daily News
Author: Peter Sawrie


To the editor:

I find it kind of appalling that we are even having to deal with the 
subject of decriminalizing marijuana. The real question should be: why is 
marijuana illegal in the first place?

Marijuana is a natural herb, and has proven health benefits for people with 
asthma, as well as other illnesses. Why doesn't the government make alcohol 
illegal and marijuana legal? Think about this and give me one logical 
explanation why alcohol should be legal versus marijuana. There isn't a 
reasonable explanation except for this: the government can more easily 
control the sale and distribution of alcohol than marijuana.

Why is this so important? Because the government makes billions every year 
through the taxation of alcohol, and therefore wants to protect it as the 
drug of choice.

But the fact remains that alcohol is much more damaging to the human body, 
and to society as a whole, than marijuana.

I want to point out a fact about marijuana, which again will tend to 
condemn the government's stance on the legalization of alcohol over 
marijuana. Anyone who has been around both a marijuana user and an alcohol 
user will be able to tell you that marijuana tends to make its users more 
mellow, while alcohol tends to make its users more violent.

But if marijuana and alcohol both do damage to our bodies and to society, 
when abused, why not make both illegal? The answer is simple: governments 
are not supposed to be in the business of creating laws to deter potential 
bad actions, but to set up, and enforce, laws to govern the actions of 
those who transgress the rights and freedoms of others.

Smoking marijuana or drinking alcohol do not constitute transgressions of 
the rights and freedoms of others. But it may be argued that people with 
any type of corruption may be more susceptible to committing an offence 
than people without the influence of marijuana and alcohol.

But my argument would then be: a person who has a nagging wife is more 
susceptible to being a wife beater than a person without a nagging wife. So 
should we make nagging wives illegal?

There are millions of possible scenarios that can make people transgress 
against others. It is not for the government legislate all of these 
possibilities, but to institute and enforce laws that deal with those who 
commit offences against others, and thereby deter others from committing 
the same offences.

Some of the immediate benefits of marijuana legalization are that you no 
longer call users of marijuana criminals, and the government can sell and 
tax the distribution of marijuana.

The illegal drug trade would shrink, as marijuana constitutes by far, the 
biggest percentage of all illegal substances. There would be fewer guns on 
the streets because guns are used to protect the sellers and their illegal 

Maybe I'm wrong, but I think that the people who believe marijuana should 
remain illegal are people who haven't given the argument much contemplative 

Rather, that they have been told that it is illegal and should be illegal 
because of this or that. But could it be that this herb, which God placed 
here for a reason, actually has some benevolent purposes.

Like most other things in this world, when used in moderation, it may 
actually do us good.

Peter Sawrie

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