Pubdate: Mon, 24 Mar 2003
Source: Surrey Now (CN BC)
Copyright: 2003 Lower Mainland Publishing Group Inc., A Canwest Company
Authors: Alan Randell, Eleanor Randell


The Editor,

Re: "Mellow approach to grow-ops wrong," the Now editorial, March 15.

We have a few questions for you about your evident support for drug 
prohibition, a program you should know was initiated during the first half 
of the 20th century as a means of persecuting and "controlling" blacks 
(marijuana) and Chinese (opium).

1. The Charter of Rights and Freedoms implies that citizens have the right 
to pursue their own form of happiness so long as they harm no one else. 
Thus it seems Canadians have the right to ingest any drug, however harmful. 
Why do you feel the government has the right to punish individuals for what 
they choose to ingest into their own bodies and jail those who supply them? 
(By "harm", I don't mean causing anguish to friends and family, otherwise 
we would jail all divorcing parents along with any kid who didn't do his or 
her homework. I mean direct, physical harm.)

2. If drugs are banned because they are harmful to users, why, then, are 
tobacco and alcohol not banned? Doesn't this seem unfair to those who 
prefer illegal drugs? If we ban one harmful drug, shouldn't we ban all 
harmful drugs?

3. Is it not true that, far from protecting users from harm, banning a drug 
harms them much more than would otherwise be the case because it cuts them 
off from access to drugs of known potency and purity? Weren't thousands of 
Americans poisoned or blinded by adulterated alcohol during Prohibition? 
Didn't the problems vanish when alcohol was legalized again?

4. The 1973 Le Dain Commission concluded, "There appears to be little 
permanent physiological damage from chronic use of pure opiate narcotics." 
Why, then, ban heroin?

5. If prohibition is so great, why did America give up on the prohibition 
of alcohol?

6. Is it not true that if drugs and prostitution were legalized, the power 
of the Hells Angels would be severely curtailed? After all, Prohibition 
created Al Capone, not the other way around.

7. Is it not true that if marijuana were legalized, marijuana grow 
operations would be no more dangerous, do no more damage and steal no more 
hydro than the average tomato grow operation?

For us, there is no more reason to punish drug users and dealers today than 
there was in the past to hang witches, lynch blacks, incarcerate Japanese 
Canadians or gas Jews.

Alan and Eleanor Randell Victoria
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