Pubdate: Mon, 6 Jul 2009
Source: Miramichi Leader (CN NK)
Copyright: 2009 Brunswick News Inc.
Author: David Cadogan


Darcey McLaughlin's column on legalizing marijuana in the Canada Day
issue was excellent. There are a couple of points I think worth adding.

A few years ago, the Senate of Canada conducted a study of marijuana
use which included holding public hearings from coast to coast to
coast. Acting on the results of the commission report, the Senate
recommended decriminalizing marijuana. While it is doubtful Parliament
would have done that, the United States went ballistic. The American
drug czar came to Canada raving about what a violent, criminal hell
hole Holland had become since allowing the use of marijuana in select
cafes there. He warned that the Canada, U.S. border would be
effectively sealed were we to proceed with decriminalization.

Meanwhile, of course, the drug criminals in Latin America are better
armed and richer than not only their police but their armies and are
effectively immune from government. Imagine if the money spent on the
losing war on drugs were spent on health care for people with addictions?

I am also convinced politicians do not like marijuana because it would
be so hard for them to keep their greedy mitts on the market. Citizens
would find it easier to grow their own acceptable pot than to distill
their own acceptable alcohol. Politicians might have to let the market
decide a reasonable price and collect only HST from consumers and
property and business taxes from farmers and manufacturers. They would
hate that.

At one point, the Supreme Court of Canada overturned the then existing
marijuana prohibition on the grounds it did not make suitable
provision for access to marijuana for medicinal use. It gave the
government a deadline to come up with new, constitutionally
acceptable, legislation. The government missed the deadline and for
almost a year Canada had no law prohibiting its use.

If the U.S. had not gone into hysterics, government might have simply
let it go. Police stopped making arrests and no charges were laid. Did
anyone notice? Do tourists dare visit Holland still? Incidentally, the
measure of national health used by the United Nations to determine the
overall healthiest people is average height. The Dutch are now the
tallest people in the world. The U.S. is somewhere down that list but
right up near the top in the percentage of its citizens who reside in
prisons. Does that tell us anything about the dangers of marijuana?

David Cadogan,
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