Pubdate: Thu, 19 Jul 2001
Source: Aldergrove Star (CN BC)
Copyright: 2001, Central Fraser Valley Star Publishing Ltd.


Prohibition is a farce. That much is undisputed, as is evident by the
ill-fated effort earlier this century to outlaw alcohol, a misguided
attempt at social engineering that is now looked upon universally as
an absolute failure.

For some reason, however, government and justice officials in North
America have failed to see how equally ludicrous it is to continue to
pump millions and millions of dollars into keeping marijuana illegal -
while at the same time lining the pockets of criminals who are
benefiting from the very black market that exists precisely because
government deems pot a banned substance.

Despite Canada's insistence on following the U.S. lead and mimicking
the failed "War on Drugs" approach - and, yes, our police forces have
taken that approach, which is why the Abbotsford Police spends more
than $500,000 per year on busting grow ops alone - we may finally be
seeing some common sense prevail in Ottawa. Joe Clark, leader of the
Progressive Conservative Party of Canada, has gone on record as saying
that marijuana should be decriminalized. Clark's rationale is that he
doesn't think it is fair for a young person to carry a criminal record
for life for something as relatively minor as possessing pot.

Decriminalization would make possession of marijuana a civil offence,
akin to a traffic violation, rather than a criminal offence, subject
to a criminal record and fine/jail time upon conviction.

While we would urge the federal government to legalize the weed, we
applaud Clark for taking an all-important first step by calling
publicly for much-needed and long overdue changes to the archaic way
in which we view as benign a plant as marijuana.

Clark's comments come in the wake of a decision last week by the
federal government to establish an all-party committee to look into
the use of non-medical drugs, such as pot. The committee will have a
report completed by November of 2002, at which time we are confident -
providing it looks at all aspects of marijuana use and recognizes
Reefer Madness-type rhetoric - it will side with the majority of
Canadians who feel that marijuana should not be a banned substance.
Tax revenue, much less of a black market for criminals and an
opportunity to take a half-million dollars in Abbotsford and have our
cops spend it on something useful - not to mention allowing adults to
indulge in a stimulant no different than alcohol. Now, how can that
not make sense? 
- ---
MAP posted-by: Richard Lake