Pubdate: Fri, 01 Dec 2006
Source: Seaway News (CN ON)
Copyright: 2005 J.G.F. Holdings Co.
Author: Kevin Parkinson


Dear Editor,

I just read Arthur Black's light-hearted article called "This Country
is Going to Pot," in the Seaway News.

Black reminisces about the history of marijuana in Canada over the
past 50 years or so. He's right about the paranoia that has been
perpetuated for so long over the use of pot, including preposterous
assertions that pot use causes insanity, devil worship and leads users
to outright murder.

This brainwashing worked for a while but now the cat is out of the bag
forever. Like alcohol, tobacco and certain prescription drugs,
marijuana creates a certain euphoria for the user and over time, a
dependence can be built up. However, research shows the dependence to
be more psychological than physical, unlike the killer dependence of
say, heroin or cocaine use.

When school children are smoking up regularly before or at school, we
have to recognize the problem for what it is. These children feel such
a sense of alienation from society, a sense of not belonging, that
they are looking for a mood change and an escape from reality. And the
marijuana provides that.

This is not a new phenomenon but it is cause for concern nevertheless.
In the '70s, many high school students weaved their way up and down
hallways, half-stoned and glassy-eyed. Unfortunately, regular use of
any drug can lead to dependence, and the emotional development of
these children is halted. A child using marijuana regularly is on a
collision course and intervention is urgently needed.

The same thing could be said with alcohol use. Start feeding alcoholic
drinks on a regular basis to a 12-yearold, and dependence will
eventually set in. However, at least alcohol is regulated which makes
it a bit more difficult to obtain. I don't think alcohol sales are big
business in schoolyards.

Canada needs to regulate the use and possession of marijuana, just
like it does with alcohol, tobacco and prescription drugs. That would
take marijuana off the streets, out of the playground, and behind a
licenced counter where it can be controlled for quality and price, and
the bonus is that government gets to tax it.

What is opening up the debate is that marijuana is finally being
recognized for the healing properties it has always had. Marijuana is
used to prevent pain, combat Alzheimer's and reduce nausea in
terminally ill patients. These healing properties include relieving

We need to take a look at countries like Holland, which has
decriminalized possession and has made marijuana available in the

We need a new solution for the 21st century--one that will work.
Criminalizing students for smoking pot is not going to get us
anywhere, except to tie up the courts and the justice system.

Kevin Parkinson,

- ---
MAP posted-by: Derek