Pubdate: Sat, 07 Sep 2002
Source: Kitchener-Waterloo Record (CN ON)
Copyright: 2002 Kitchener-Waterloo Record
Author: Marie Cote
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Canada)


It's about time. I support and applaud the Senate committee's 
recommendation to legalize the use of marijuana.

I am a middle-aged professional who tried grass for the first time when I 
was 14, at about the same age as many teenagers try smoking cigarettes. At 
first, it didn't have any effect on me, but after a few attempts, I found 
it relaxed me and stimulated my appetite. These were benefits for me 
because I am ordinarily hyper and was anorexic before I tried it. Contrary 
to what I read about marijuana at the time, it was not a stepping-stone to 
hard drugs and did not induce hallucinations or a loss of self-control.

I continued to "smoke up" socially throughout university while remaining an 
honours student because I found it was a good way to unwind after studying 
or working on assignments for hours. I was arrested for possession of a 
small quantity but was fortunately acquitted, likely because I dressed up 
in my Sunday best, my parents accompanied me to court and I was an 
excellent student.

It's a shame that many others who were busted with similarly small 
quantities were convicted and burdened with a criminal record.

I still "indulge" when I can afford it and when good quality marijuana is 
available because grass helps me to relax, reflect and release my 
creativity. I agree that it is less harmful than alcohol and I know it is 
not addictive.

Marijuana was responsible for making me quit smoking tobacco; even though 
it does not contain nicotine, the harsh sensation of inhaled marijuana 
smoke was an effective replacement for cigarette smoke, loaded with 
carcinogenic chemicals. I would never smoke marijuana before work or while 
driving a motorized vehicle, but I have gone biking under the influence and 
found that my senses and alertness were enhanced, so I was very observant 
of cars and pedestrians and therefore, safe.

Finally, I would rather pay a government outlet the price of good quality, 
regulated marijuana to raise more tax revenues to pay for our exceptional 
social programs than some enterprising dealer. I'm certain police officers 
would rather spend their valuable time pursuing dangerous criminals than 
pot smokers.

Perhaps the Canadian Police Association is so fiercely opposed to 
legalization of marijuana because it fears that Canada would not need as 
many police officers to enforce petty misdemeanours and layoffs could 
result. I believe the police should focus more on protecting Canada from 
the threat of terrorists, pedophiles, rapists and murderers.

Marie Cote, Kitchener
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