Pubdate: Tue, 20 Jun 2006
Source: Chilliwack Times (CN BC)
Copyright: 2006 Chilliwack Times
Author: Clifford Roulston
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Canada)



One cannot live in the Fraser Valley for any length of time without 
becoming aware of the abundance of marijuana grown here.

The Yarrow Newsletter reported that there are currently 43 residents 
of interest to police in Yarrow alone. Considering there are fewer 
than 800 residents in the Yarrow Water District, that number is very 
large. It may be why the newsletter keeps referring to it as a 
"sleepy community."

So it was with anticipation that I read the announcement of a drug 
awareness forum in Yarrow on June 20. Not having ever used the stuff 
I thought it would be a great opportunity to learn something.

Then I read, "With marijuana known internationally as the 'gateway' 
drug leading to harder drugs such as crystal meth, heroin and 
cocaine..." Are these discussions going to proceed from this obvious 
false assumption? Most of the people I know that smoke marijuana also 
smoke tobacco, but I have a couple of friends who light up on Friday 
night that otherwise don't smoke. Occasionally, people will smoke 
marijuana to magnify the effects of alcohol. They may experiment but 
seldom have I met anyone that smokes marijuana that has graduated to 
a "harder" drug.

I had a friend that was an intravenous cocaine user who claims his 
wife was more addicted to bingo than he was to cocaine. There are 
many who have been on maintenance doses of methadone for more than 20 
years with no escalation of their addiction. To propagate lies about 
drugs only creates hysteria. It is possible that the three liquor 
outlets in Yarrow cause more harm than the five grow operations on 
Yarrow Central Road.

As I continued to read my Yarrow Newsletter I noticed a little box 
with pointers on how to watch my neighbours. If this is going to be a 
forum on spying, I would rather have the marijuana, especially when 
the neighbours are so eager to jump to the wrong conclusions. We 
hired a professional police force because vigilantism was executing 
too many innocent bystanders.

The community has much to discuss. Each of those five houses is 50 to 
60 years old. They are among the oldest in Yarrow. But municipal 
bylaws require that tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars be 
spent on renovations and re-inspections before each can become 
habitable. Will the owners opt instead for demolition? The law also 
allows the federal Crown to seize and confiscate each property. Will 
the houses remain derelict for the next three of four years while 
these cases wind their way through the courts. This is our main 
street and hundreds of thousand of tourists drive along it every 
summer. What will the municipality do to insure all of these homes 
are occupied as soon as possible? Will it waive its bylaws? Will it 
suspend the liquor licences from retailers that also sell automobile 
fuels? Do we have more to worry about from the laws than the drugs?

Clifford Roulston

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