Pubdate: Wed, 18 Jul 2007
Source: Ottawa Citizen (CN ON)
Copyright: 2007 The Ottawa Citizen
Author: Mike Friis


Re: Legal madness, July 12.

The continuing illegality of marijuana possession in Canada certainly 
is madness, as your editorial points out. Any question about the 
value of this initiative was answered in 1972 by the government's own 
expansive review in the Le Dain Commission report, as mentioned in 
the editorial.

Since then many governments, including the current Tories, could have 
ignored the perennial recommendation to decriminalize minor possession.

Frankly, it's not yet a make-or-break election issue, but that will 
inevitably change in this connected world as more facts penetrate the 

More people are shedding old stereotypes and realizing that marijuana 
has too many benefits and is too benign to be considered illegal. It 
has long since proven to be a less-sinister alternative to alcohol 
(which is addictive) as a prevalent, socially accepted recreational drug.

The biggest reason for legalizing it, however, is that the current 
laws -- which categorize marijuana as a schedule 1 substance, the 
same as heroin -- are unequivocally unconstitutional.

All substances entered into the body are a personal matter that 
doesn't concern the government.

When enough people realize that this is a fundamental infringement of 
our rights, regardless of whether we think it affects us personally, 
then it will be an issue on the election radar.

Then we can claim a step toward a better democracy. But, as always, 
the wisdom inherent in our government will be bound by the wisdom (or 
lack thereof) inherent in Canada's own populace.

Mike Friis,

Ashton, Ont.
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