Eye magazine editorial - Up in smoke

Discussion in 'Marijuana News' started by KanMan, Apr 9, 2006.

  1. http://www.eye.net/eye/issue/issue_04.06.06/op/editorial.html

    Up in smoke

    Why is Harper harshing our national buzz?

    Remember when Canada was cool? Back, lo those many months ago in September 2003 when, reacting to hep-cat legislation that proposed legalizing same-sex marriage and decriminalizing possession of marijuana, The Economist wrote in a cover story that "Canada is now rather cool." The rest of the world slowly took notice, first when our athletes at the 2004 summer Olympics were outfitted in The Beret of The Games, compliments of Roots; even more so as indie bands from Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver caught the attention of Spin, The New York Times and the producers of The OC. But over the course of the last week, we've pretty much managed to trash that carefully cultivated image as the trend-setter nation.
    Exhibit A: Prime Minister Stephen Harper in Mexico on March 29. A photo-op alongside US President George W. Bush is about as big a stage as Harper ever gets, internationally, but while Bush and Mexican President Vicente Fox were outfitted in matching white linens, looking cool in Mexico's heat as they strolled among the pyramids, Harper was wearing a khaki fishing vest with a whole lot of pockets and a blue shirt that clashed with his brown pants. They say you should dress for the job you want rather than the one you have: apparently Harper wants a supporting role on The Red Green Show.
    Our extreme dweeb makeover continued apace on Sunday, at the Juno Awards in Halifax. In a year when our hot indie bands have become, to some extent, North America's hot indie bands, who would take home the biggest armload of prizes? Broken Social Scene? The Arcade Fire? Feist? The New Pornographers? No siree. The Junos celebrated the reheated schlock of Michael Bublé (he was that annoying misfit kid who always sang Sinatra songs in a suit too big for him at your high-school talent show).

    Finally, and most damningly, we enter into evidence a story from the front page of the Toronto Star on Monday headlined "Police crack down on marijuana users."
    Apparently, the election of the Conservative government has semi-permanently shelved plans to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana. As a result, cops across the land who'd been taking a look-away approach to pot possession in anticipation of the new law are back out there throwing the book at tokers, including, the Star points out, Brian Fitzpatrick, a man who's been using marijuana to treat epilepsy symptoms for years and now faces charges.
    This does worse than just cementing our lock on national nerdiness. The criminalization of pot is bad policy: it's unjust, expensive and doesn't accomplish what it sets out to do.
    Need we go over all of this again? Marijuana is a mostly harmless drug, especially as compared with other legal substances such as alcohol and tobacco. As a recreational relaxant, its main effect is to mellow out smokers, making them peaceful, docile and a bit lazy. As a medical supplement, its painkilling effects are well-recognized, even by the Supreme Court of Canada.
    What's more, use of marijuana is astoundingly common. Just over one in seven Canadians report using marijuana currently, and nearly half have used it at one time or another. Among the high-profile people across the continent who have admitted to committing the crime of marijuana possession are Belinda Stronach, Paul Martin, Kim Campbell, Stockwell Day, Pierre Trudeau, Bill Clinton, Al Gore and Arnold Schwarzenegger.
    And yet many pot smokers are locked up for their smoking: 600,000 Canadians have criminal records for simple possession of marijuana. An estimated 1,500 people a year serve time behind bars for possession. And prosecuting them costs about $150 million per year.
    The decriminalization efforts of the former Liberal government were overdue and sensible. If we had any sense as a nation, they would have been a first step to the outright legalization of pot. Harper's position against this sensible policy is more than just nerdy. It's a menace to many good citizens. What the hell has he been smoking?

    EMAIL LETTERS Contact: eye@eye.net

    Don't forget letters to the editor lot and lots please
    Look at these tips in regards to letters to the editors or columnists or search the Internet for how to write letters to the editor



Share This Page