Pubdate: Fri, 17 Feb 2006
Source: Sentinel Review (CN ON)
Copyright: 2006 Annex Publishing & Printing Inc.
Author: Jim Bender


Re: Troubled by youth's view of marijuana (letter to the editor, Feb. 
3, Sentinel-Review).

The Woodstock Sentinel-Review -- "As adults, we need to promote and 
model healthier choices and insist that future election campaigns are 
used to promote serious political parties, not psychoactive drugs, 
especially to our children".

I'm wondering which serious political party is Mr Robinson referring 
to and does he understand the word psychoactive? This word means many 
things - smelling a cup of coffee results in a psychoactive reaction.

As far as political views go, Mr. Robinson took no time in declaring 
his political animosity and that is his right, as a Canadian.

Unfortunately Mr. Robinson was so biased in his opinion, he cared not 
to hear what was said. Far from making pot beautiful or acceptable, I 
spoke of the reality of the situation. Addiction is harmful. I 
believe in reduced access for minors. There are currently no controls 
on marijuana apart from poorly enforced Criminal Code measures.

Criminal measures do little, if anything, for the underlying problem 
of addiction. Criminals leaving prisons generally are in no better 
shape than when they went in. Jailing people has no societal benefit, 
except to get the problem out of your face for a little while.

As far as studies go, there are hundreds of studies showing opposite 
reactions to marijuana than what Mr. Robinson has claimed. In fact, 
the University of Saskatchewan recently completed a study financed by 
the federal government in part and through research grants from the 
university itself. Basically the study says high doses of THC can 
make you smarter. It can also reduce depression and anxiety.

Although one could easily come up with hundreds of studies that point 
to either direction, there really would be no point in plunging into 
an argument over whose study is right and whose is wrong.

For myself, my position comes at great cost. Trying to bring light to 
a major domestic problem like pot, comes with difficulty. Trying to 
change the perception of morality is not one of my goals. Moving the 
system from its criminal foundation to a treatment-based program 
would accommodate the needs of the addicted. The criminal justice 
system currently handles 75,000 Canadians per year for marijuana offences.

The message to youth? I don't see anything different about my 
message, than say that of the Christian Heritage Party that opposes 
same-sex marriage or opposes the rights of women or opposes anything 
non-Christian. Morally, telling people not to like gay people is 
probably more harmful than telling people that marijuana should be 
regulated. At least I can acknowledge that perhaps not everyone is a 
pot smoker.

If the letter writer had paid attention, he would have heard the 
message about access and regulation and the idea that marijuana 
should be controlled and limited to an adult population. He would 
have also heard that spending money on prohibition is wasteful and 
the tax rewards would pay for many increased social expenditures.

Presently, people are smoking pot, people are using the health-care 
system for pot-related illness, yet we recoup nothing to put towards 
these costs.

Yes, the system is flawed, but if you believe that repressing 
independent, individual thinking is correct, than perhaps you have no 
place teaching.

Jim Bender - Woodstock
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