Pubdate: Fri, 13 Oct 2000
Source: Ottawa Citizen (CN ON)
Copyright: 2000 The Ottawa Citizen
Contact:  1101 Baxter Rd.,Ottawa, Ontario, K2C 3M4
Fax: 613-596-8522
Authors: Robert Borden, Alan Arcadia, Gisela Bublitz and Laura K. Golden
Referenced: and


In their zealous pursuit of justice, American officials seem content to 
disregard the individual rights of their own citizens. One would hope that 
officials would honour their own law, California's Proposition 215, the 
Compassion Care Act that made it legal for seriously ill persons to 
purchase and use marijuana if recommended by a doctor. The law was voted 
upon by the same public who put these people in office.

Does the United States not have compassion for the terminally ill? I can 
think of no greater indignity than placing a terminally ill man in solitary 
confinement. What benefit does this serve? None.

If Ms. Boje is returned to the United States, she will surely be convicted. 
Justice was not served for medical-marijuana users Peter McWilliams or Todd 
McCormick, so why would it be for Ms. Boje?

Our Justice Minister Anne McLellan needs to take a stand and show the world 
that Canada is a country of humility and understanding.

Unfortunately, everyone involved in this case will become a statistic, for 
the wrong reason though -- the War on Drugs.

Robert Borden, Ottawa

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Renee Boje is on the verge of becoming another victim of the United 
States's paranoia-driven War on Drugs ("American faces 10 years in jail for 
tending plants," Oct. 7).

While millions of happy and productive citizens continue to use marijuana 
for both medicinal and recreational purposes, those who have vested 
interests in the War on Drugs continue unsuccessfully to try and convince 
us that it is a dangerous, corrosive substance. Few people actually believe 
that, but most who see the lie continue to do nothing in defence of those 
who suffer.

As a former resident of "the land of the free," I urge Canadians to speak 
out in defence of Ms. Boje, the late Peter McWilliams, Todd McCormick, and 
the many thousands of others who are being persecuted for use of a plant 
that doesn't happen to meet the U.S. government's very narrow standards of 

With the death of Mr. McWilliams, the U.S. government has proven that it 
would rather see its own citizens die from untreated AIDS and cancer than 
reform its draconian and outdated drug laws.

Citizens of Canada, don't let this paranoia take root here. Write to 
Justice Minister Anne McLellan and urge her to grant asylum to Ms. Boje 
here. Canada was a haven for many Americans who refused to be drafted into 
fighting an unjust war in Vietnam 30 years ago. It must now become a haven 
for the victims of this new war.

Alan Arcadia, Bath, Ont.

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If the extradition of Renee Boje is carried out, our government should not 
be surprised if Canadians across the country join in a protest and use the 
first opportunity to defeat a government that acts like a slave of the 
United States and disregards principles it has openly and loudly upheld for 
decades: the principles essential for a truly free, democratic country.

We in Canada should not condone, or act as if we would condone, the U.S. 
for using their War on Drugs, which was described by Dan Gardner in earlier 
articles in the Citizen, as justification for trampling on human rights and 
treating its citizens in the same brutal manner as other countries have 
done in the past and are still too often doing now. These types of regimes 
and political systems have been condemned by us and the U.S. as being 
oppressive and anti-democratic.

Let's hope the Canadian government will have the courage to make a decision 
in line with our Canadian tradition to protect those who are worthy of 
protection but who cannot protect themselves.

Gisela Bublitz, Hull

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I commend the Citizen and Dan Gardner for the excellent and thorough series 
"Losing the War on Drugs."

I thank you for printing the supplement, which I have sent to colleagues in 
Santa Fe, New Mexico, who are addiction counsellors. They are highly 
trained, deeply dedicated and very compassionate. However, like most people 
in North America, they do not have the whole picture.

After reading the entire Citizen report with an open mind, I hope they will 
support their governor, Gary Johnson, in dialoguing about the damage caused 
by the drug war.

If the Citizen decides to print more drug-war series supplements, include 
the poignant article on Renee Boje ("American faces 10 years in jail for 
tending plants," Oct 7). Her plight exemplifies the danger to personal 
freedom created by the conflict between the liberal states and the 
repressive U.S. federal government.

My views have changed from legalization to decriminalization with moderate 
civil punishment, such as community service. And greatly expanded treatment 
facilities for those who seek sobriety. In addition, end the stigma 
attached to drug use.

Instead, we should concentrate on ways to decrease poverty, and increase 
opportunity for meaningful work and education. Treat users with respect for 
their choices, at the same time giving them opportunities to improve their 

The ultimate irony is that there is a war on social drugs (chemicals) 
abused by a fraction of the world's population, while the real threat comes 
from toxic chemicals in the water, air and soil, creating a "chemical soup" 
in which we all live. International companies continue to poison the entire 
planet. Thus the food we eat, the air we breathe and the water we drink 
harm every person in the world. Who then are the real criminals?

The pollution of the Arctic demonstrates dramatically how planetary 
pollution affects every single living being. The increase in mental illness 
among children, the staggering number of people suffering degenerative 
diseases, and the increase in violent behaviour worldwide, can be related 
to a greater or lesser degree to this pollution.

I recommend a followup report on the real threat of "drugs" -- the chemical 
pollution of our planet and the degradation of all life.

Let's redirect the money wasted on the War on Drugs to cleaning up our 
beautiful planet. In that way, everyone benefits

Laura K. Golden, Ottawa 
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom