Pubdate: Thu, 31 May 2001
Source: Daily Press, The (CN ON)
Copyright: 2001 Daily Press (CN ON)


The Issue

There is, as periodically happens, a push on to decriminalize marijuana, 
something that appeals to some of those who idealize the 60s. Now, an 
Alliance MP has introduced a private members bill removing criminal 
penalties  for possession of pot and replacing them with fines of up to $1,000.

What you should know:

Marijuana, also called Cannabis sativa or pot, is more carcinogenic than 
tobacco. No only does it injure smokers more  seriously than tobacco does, 
it also injures those who are exposed to it as second-hand smoke.  The 
Canadian Police  Association which represents 30,000 officers across 
Canada, says decriminalizing marijuana  would increase drug usage and 
consequently increase crime.

We live in a world which is becoming more and more concerned for safety and 
good health.

It's a constant theme everywhere as we learn more about hazards and develop 
the technology to evade them.

Standards for safety of firefighters, police, forestry  workers, laboratory 
technologists and other employees are continually upgraded

And many people take an active role, trying to ensure the safety of their 
community and world. Some protest the use of herbicides because they are 
concerned the chemicals might harm the environment.

Some fight against the exploitation of the awesome and useful, but 
dangerous, power released by fracturing atoms nuclear power.

But, in the midst of all this effort to create a safe  world, Alliance MP 
Keith Martin, a medical doctor, has introduced a private members bill 
proposing the  decriminalization of marijuana.

His encouraging use of this drug seems totally irrational. Physicians 
uniformly oppose the use of tobacco.

Why? The smoke produced by burning tobacco  contains thousands of 
cancer-causing agents.

Intensive education has curtailed tobacco use. Now restaurants and public 
buildings in many cities no longer permit smoking.

It's well-known that burning marijuana produces  even more cancer-causing 
agents in addition to the chemical which causes the mellowing (and 
unmotivating) dopiness dope smokers seek.

Dope smokers argue they smoke much less marijuana. To those exposed to 
second-hand smoke, that's irrelevant.

The increase in crime which the Canadian Police  Association anticipates is 
another major concern about the legalization of marijuana. Not only does 
crime cause human suffering, it also costs money for the medical and 
justice systems,

In the Netherlands, the legalization of marijuana resulted in skyrocketing 
crime statistics, press reports indicate.

And lets face it, the decriminalization of marijuana is bound to eventually 
lead to the legalization of the drug.

What society would deliberately strive to become  more hazardous?

What society would deliberately risk increased social service costs? It's 
irrational. Let's get real folks.
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