Pubdate: Fri, 23 Jan 2004
Source: Langley Times (CN BC)
Copyright: 2004 BC Newspaper Group and New Media Development
Author: Kirk Tousaw


Editor: I write in response to the comments of Mr. Frank Sterle (Letters,
The Times, Jan 16).

He suggests that, as a past user, he can attest to the permanent
damage that cannabis can cause to body and mind because, presumably,
he has suffered that damage - yet provides not a single example of
these supposed permanent effects.

And the literature he quotes does not, in any way, suggest that
cannabis use causes permanent damage. Indeed, the research on this
subject is quite clear: moderate cannabis use is not permanently
harmful to one's mind or body.

See, for example, the recent Senate report and the findings of fact by
the Supreme Court in the cannabis cases.

Yes, some people with pre-existing conditions such as schizophrenia
should not be using substances that alter mental function. This
startles Mr. Sterle? Seems more like common sense to me.

People with back problems shouldn't do heavy lifting and diabetics
shouldn't eat a lot of sugar. But it is a quantum leap to suggest
that, because cannabis may exacerbate pre-existing problems in a very
small number of users, it causes permanent damage to all users. In
fact, it does not.

What we should be telling our youth is that while cannabis use may be
harmful to oneself - and that the use of any substance is a decision
that must be approached with significant forethought - Canada respects
the right of adult citizens to engage in behaviour that causes no harm
to others.

Kirk Tousaw, policy director, B.C. Civil Liberties Association

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