Pubdate: Wed, 18 Dec 2002
Source: Goldstream Gazette (CN BC)
Copyright: 2002 Goldstream Gazette


Our only hesitation in applauding the federal Liberals' promise to
decriminalize marijuana is the realization that we will receive messages
from all over the continent responding to what we will say next.

Marijuana isn't as harmless as its advocates argue, any more than tobacco
is as benign as the tobacco industry led us to believe for years. We
support decriminalization for the same reason that our local MP Keith
Martin does  the War on Drugs has been a dismal failure. So it's time to
channel those resources into other areas that have a better potential for

That appears to be the direction that the federal Liberals are going. It's
been a long time coming. And it's about time.

The federal government needs to look at the whole approach to recreational
drugs, their abuse and how they are regulated. That's a much bigger
problem, for another time. For now, decriminalizing marijuana use is a good
start toward putting its regulations where they belong  in ways similar to
how we now handle alcohol and tobacco.

That isn't to say marijuana is harmless, any more than alcohol and tobacco
are harmless, although the latter are probably more dangerous and certainly
more addictive.

Nevertheless an editorial in the Lancet this summer, which argued against
relaxing marijuana laws by the way, cited a British Lung Foundation
statement that pointed to "growing evidence that cannabis smoke may be
associated with increased respiratory diseases in a way not dissimilar to

We disagree, though, with the Lancet's view that keeping cannabis illegal
will mitigate those risks.
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