Pot Should Be Legal

Discussion in 'Marijuana News' started by Superjoint, Sep 20, 2002.

  1. By Charles Moore
    Source: Canada.com

    The Senate committee on cannabis is right that marijuana ought to be legalized, but don't hold your breath, so to speak, waiting for it to happen.
    I say this neither out of enthusiasm for, nor advocacy of, pot smoking. It would be hard to find someone more philosophically opposed to drug use that I am. I don't smoke pot, and never have other than a few experimental puffs as a teenager more than thirty years ago.

    I haven't sipped an alcoholic beverage in more than 13 years, and I stopped smoking cigarettes in the early 1970s. I resist taking even Asperin or Tylenol. I am anti-drug.

    However, I don't discriminate. I think that taking non-food chemical substances of any sort into one's body ought to be avoided unless medically necessary. A society that tolerates, even celebrates, abuse of alcohol the way ours does is in selective, pathological denial in simultaneously condemning pot smoking as some sort of outrage.

    Someone may drink himself into a stupor every day, destroy his family life, impoverish his children, and ruin his health with booze, and so long as he doesn't drive while inebriated or engage in physical violence, the only jail time he's risking is possibly an occasional night in the drunk tank.

    The notion that pot use constitutes gross moral failure is bizarre, and punishing marijuana users - or growers and traffickers - more harshly than some violent criminals, is psychotic.

    Last week, I wrote here about a young offender who was sentenced to two years in youth jail for brutally murdering another teen with a baseball bat. Also last week, Michael Patriquen of Sackville was sentenced to six years hard time for marijuana trafficking and possession. There's something very wrong with this picture.

    The Senate report noted that, annually, 30,000 Canadians are charged with simple possession of marijuana, three-quarters of whom emerge from the process with criminal records. Now there is a moral outrage.

    It's absurd and unjust that anyone goes to jail for possession of weed, while alcohol abuse is serenely tolerated. Not to mention the prodigal waste of tax dollars and law enforcement/justice resources persecuting people who are less danger to themselves and others than legal alcohol abusers.

    Unfortunately, many people in our society, including lawmakers, bureaucrats and police, harbour an irrational fear and loathing of the alleged “demon weed” that is nothing short of hysterical.

    Canadian Alliance Leader Stephen Harper says he would rather his kids drink alcohol than smoke pot. I suggest that the relative social damage caused by the recreational use or abuse of these two drugs respectively does not support Mr. Harper's contention.

    Paranoid demonization of cannabis afflicts many Canadians, even more so our friends south of the border, never mind that both former presidents George Washington and Thomas Jefferson grew hemp on their estates, and towns like Hempstead, N.Y., were named for it. There was even a “Hemp for Victory” drive during the Second World War.

    Last March, the U.S. drug-enforcement administration announced that it would begin enforcing a new regulation that foods containing even a trace of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, are “controlled substances,” making them as illegal as heroin. That includes consumer products such as Hempzel pretzels and Organic Hemp Plus Granola, hemp waffles, salad oils, and other foods that represented a $5 million US market in 2001. Arguments that the amount of THC in these foods wouldn't get a bird stoned fell on deaf ears. In the DEA's puritan view, any THC at all is not to be tolerated.

    Fortunately, in April the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals stayed the DEA's attempt to ban hemp foods, pending a decision in a suit launched by the hemp foods industry. At this writing, the products remain on store shelves.

    But the DEA's style of hemp phobia isn't unique to the U.S. A few years back, the Body Shop cosmetics firm held a news conference announcing a new line of hemp-based skin-care products, and was ordered by Health Canada to seal the pages of a promotional hemp handbook and to - get this - glue samples of hemp products on display to the table. Presumably, the good grey Ottawa bureaucrats feared that latent reefer-madness might seize some reporter refugee from the ‘60s, making them lose control and start slurping down hemp-based skin cream.

    This is hysterical lunacy, folks.

    Rampant potophobia in law-enforcement circles, combined with American insecurity about Canada being an alleged conduit for terrorists, implies the last thing Canada needs is to provide the Yanks with another reason to constipate cross-border traffic. On the other hand, the emotional and extreme attitude exemplified by the DEA, et al. is so stupid that it cries out for rational legislative nose- thumbing.

    Note: Even someone who is anti-drug can see law makes no sense.

    Source: Canada.com
    Author: Charles Moore
    Published: Friday, September 20, 2002
    Copyright: 2002 CanWest Interactive
    Contact: cwmoore@hotpop.com
    Website: http://www.canada.com/

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