Canadian Marijuana Madness Could Infect The U.S.

Discussion in 'Marijuana News' started by Superjoint, Aug 15, 2001.

  1. By Robert L. Maginnis
    Source: Watertown Daily Times

    On July 30th, Canada became the first country in the would to allow its citizens to possess marijuana for "medical" purposes. Canada has already legalized the production of hemp, a form of marijuana, for industrial purposes.
    Derek Lee, a member of the ruling Liberal Party, said that decriminalizing marijuana for recreational users is "not a complex issue" and "it is possible that possession of marijuana may soon be no more serious than getting a speeding ticket."

    Even though many Canadians oppose liberalization, it may be only a matter of time before Canada puts a match to most marijuana prohibition. This will add momentum to liberalization efforts in the United states.

    There is a European precedent for this conclusion.

    In 1984, the Dutch government adopted a liberal cannabis policy whereby possession of small amounts of marijuana of hashish was decriminalized and distribution at hundreds of so-called coffee shops was permitted. This policy ushered in droves of tourists from neighboring counties seeking drugs, and today many of those counties have followed the Dutch lead.

    Canada is already a major supplies of marijuana to the United States, and decriminalization will make it worse. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police estimates that much of the 800 tons of marijuana produced illegally in Canada every year is shipped to the United States.

    Decriminalization of marijuana will certainly encourage Canada's pot producers to increase output. More "maple-leaf" marijuana will flow into the United States a lower prices and perhaps in more powerful varieties. We can expect some U.S. citizens to travel north of the border to engage in drug tourism and a number of these will, no doubt, attempt to return home with cars stuffed with cheap pot. Customs officials beware!

    Although Canada prohibits marijuana production, its laws aren't rigorously enforced. Magazines such as High Times, which is written for the marijuana subculture, are filled with advertisements for Canadian-based marijuana seed companies and drug paraphernalia merchants.

    Canada's "medical" marijuana decision is another step toward drug legalization. In the past. the use of marijuana for medical purposes required a special government exemption. Now, Allan Rock. Canada's health minister. who alleges that he was forced by the courts to expand his country's marijuana program says, "This compassionate measure will improve the quality of life of sick Canadian, particularly those who are terminally ill."

    Under the new rules, three criteria must be met before the use of "medical" pot will be approved: the user must be very sick or close to dying; a doctor's voucher must be presented that says all remedies but marijuana have failed' and a reliable supplier must be available.

    While many patients will grow their own marijuana, others will turn to the government. This contractor will grow 880 pounds of marijuana annually in an abandoned mine in Manitoba and receive $3.7 million to do so.

    Not everyone is pleased with Canada's policy. Peter Barrett, president of the Canadian Medical Association, complains that doctors will bear the brunt of deciding who should be allowed to use the drug.

    "We're being asked to be the gatekeepers for a product that hasn't gone through any rigorous testing." The reluctance of physicians is based on the fear that "everyone who wants marijuana for recreational use will be on the doorstep, and then we'll be the ones who have to say no," Darrett said.

    Canadian courts have contributed to the drug liberalization trend. Last summer, the Canadian health ministry blamed the Ontario Court of Appeals for forcing its hand on the medical use of marijuana. Now, Canada's Supreme Court is considering whether criminal charges for the personal use of marijuana violate constitutional rights.

    Conservative parliamentarian Joe Clark urges the elimination of criminal penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana. "It's unjust to see someone, because of one decision one night in their youth, (to) carry the stigma," Clark said. Even Canadian Justice Minister Anne McLellan said she is "quite open" to a debate on decriminalizing marijuana.

    The Canadian Police Association represents 30,000 police officers and provides rare caution to these politically driven pro-drug views. They released a statement saying there is a "weakening perception of risk of harm in drug use, and weakening moral disapproval of drug use." Dale Orban, the association's spokesman, said, "The costs of drug liberalization will be astronomical, not only in terms of health care and social services, but in true human terms."

    Unfortunately, the United States is sliding down the same drug slope as Canada. Nine states have embraced the use of pot as medicine. Even though our Supreme Court recently ruled that the Controlled Substances Act made no exception for the use of marijuana by ill people, that decision was narrow and will certainly be tested further. More ballot initiatives aimed at "medicalizing" or decriminalizing marijuana will test our resolve.

    For the sake of both Canadian and U.S. citizens, Canada must reverse its pro-drug direction.

    Note: U.S. officials should discourage Canada from adopting liberal drug policies that could spill over into the United States.

    Maginnis is Policy Vice President for the Family Research Council.

    Complete Title: Canadian Marijuana Madness Could Infect The United States

    News Article Courtesy of Mapinc.

    Source: Watertown Daily Times (NY)
    Author: Robert L. Maginnis
    Published: Saturday, August 11, 2001
    Copyright: 2001 Watertown Daily Times

    Related Articles & Web Sites:

    Family Research Council

    FTE's Canadian Links

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