Pubdate: Tue, 31 Aug 2004
Source: Nanaimo News Bulletin (CN BC)
Copyright: 2004, BC Newspaper Group
Author: William Clegg
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal - Canada)


To the Editor,

Paul Willcocks' Aug. 12 article regarding our government's so-called
strategy regarding marijuana use offered a refreshing change from the
doom and gloom rhetoric we are constantly being fed.

In our medicinally "legal" drug dependent culture, it is a double
standard to be condemning and discriminating against another drug
dependent segment of the same population.

The bottom line is that people are going to seek the drug of choice
regardless of how petty and mean-spirited the government agencies are
towards them.

This is why the current and past mayors of Vancouver have chosen to
adopt the more mature and intelligent four pillars approach of so many
European cities. An approach that, at the very least, puts an end to
the property and robbery crimes that drug addicts depend upon to fuel
their habits.

But it is an approach that also acknowledges that these people are
both citizens and human beings deserving of respect and compassion.
Willcocks' acknowledgement that the prejudice towards marijuana is no
more relevant than the U.S. alcohol prohibition of the 1920s is right
on the mark. It failed then and it will fail now.

And all we will have in the end is another example of political
arrogance abusing a segment of the population to serve a narrow-minded
ideology that puts fortunes in the hands of organized crime.

The consumption of marijuana and its derivative, hashish, is almost as
common all around the world as tea or coffee and is deemed by its
users to be no more addictive or harmful.

An important reality to consider is that all police agencies operate
on the same self-serving principle that fuels all bureaucracies,
namely to protect and expand their areas of power and control over and
above any governing mandate they might have, More and more taxpayer
money is their particular addiction.

The bottom line here is that police agencies are an incredibly
powerful political lobby in Canada and they have to defend current
policies in order to legitimize the existence of their various
departments. Granted, some policing officials know the score, but few
are going to jeopardize their careers to bring that information to the

Mr. Willcocks points to the failings of the U.S. so-called war on
drugs. Any historian can tell you that the Americans have been making
war on each other far longer than they have any other nation.

What we really might learn from the American experience is that
attempting to force a particular agenda on any population, whether it
be one's own or abroad, is an exercise in futility and only creates
more victims out of small-minded and poorly developed ideological
agendas. Education, compassion and tolerance are the only true means
of achieving a responsible democracy.

William Clegg

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