Pubdate: Sat, 16 Mar 2002
Source: Red Deer Advocate (CN AB)
Copyright: 2002 Red Deer Advocate
Author: Brad Stone


Re: March 6 letter from Lynn Cole, published under the headline: Legalizing 
marijuana would be madness:

The writer seems a tad naive. By keep pot illegal, we are only serving to 
provide small and organized crime with a huge revenue source that should be 
in the hands of the people. We are also ignoring the true extent of present 
and future health care problems brought upon us by all smokers.

And, by demanding that tobacco smokers pay taxes, but not pot smokers, we 
are encouraging a huge underground economy.

If our federal government had any strength of character, cigarettes would 
be produced without a cocktail of addictive chemicals added. (The Yankers 
would sue us under NAFTA for limiting trade.) Marijuana would be sold and 
taxed the same way as cigarettes and alcohol.

Only by bringing marijuana out into the light of day will we ever be able 
to understand the true scope of this issue.

Our biggest problem is a society with a very selective grasp on reality. 
Tobacco, alcohol and drug use do not only affect users and their families. 
They affect all of society and the costs are huge.

By legalizing pot, we would be forced to put rules in place to govern its 
use and penalties for misuse or abuse much like alcohol.

We would also achieve a substantial amount of tax revenue, some of which 
would go directly toward education and prevention programs.

This would, however, require leadership on the part of our federal government.

By not legalizing marijuana, we are, in some ways, saying that we don't 
have a problem. At least that's what the ruling Liberals would have us 
believe. It is high time that pot smokers started paying their share and 
it's well past time that our current federal government got off the pot.

Brad Stone; Sylvan Lake
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