Pubdate: Fri, 15 Mar 2002
Source: Summerland Review (CN BC)
Copyright: 2002 The Summerland Review
Author: Neil MacNaughton


Dear Editor:

Re: Your editorial - Bad Apples - Feb. 28, 2002

"If we didn't have grow operations in Summerland, our police would be able 
to put more energy into other crime areas."

If we legalized marijuana, Summerland's grow-ops would be a thing of the 
past. We would save $500 million per year in law enforcement, not to 
mention court and incarceration costs.

In April 1998, through expert witness testimony in the B.C. Appeal Court, 
Judge Francine Howard presented the following as findings of fact:

1. The occasional to moderate use of marijuana by a healthy adult is not 
ordinarily harmful to health, even if used over a long period of time.

2. There is no conclusive evidence demonstrating any irreversible organic 
or mental damage to the user, except in relation to the lungs.

Reports of lung damage are limited to chronic, heavy users such as a person 
who smokes at least one and probably three to five marijuana joints per day.

3. There is no evidence demonstrating irreversible, organic or mental 
damage from the use of marijuana by an ordinary healthy adult who uses 
occasionally or moderately.

4. Marijuana use causes alteration of mental function and should not be 
used in conjunction with driving, flying or operating complex machinery.

5. There is no evidence that marijuana use induces psychosis in ordinary 
healthy adults who use marijuana occasionally or moderately. In relation to 
the heavy user, the evidence of marijuana psychosis appears to arise only 
in those having a predisposition towards such a mental illness.

6. Marijuana is not addictive.

7. There is a concern over potential dependence in heavy users, but 
marijuana is not a highly reinforcing type of drug, like heroin or cocaine.

Consequently, physical dependence is not a major problem. Psychological 
dependence, however, may be a problem for the chronic user.

8. There is no causal relationship between marijuana use and criminality.

9. There is no evidence that marijuana is a gateway drug and the vast 
majority of marijuana users do not go on to try hard drugs.

10. Marijuana does not make people aggressive or violent, but on the 
contrary it tends to make them passive and quiet.

11. There have been no deaths from the use of marijuana.

12. There is no evidence of an amotivational syndrome. Chronic use of 
marijuana could decrease motivation, especially if such a user smokes so 
often as to be in a state of chronic intoxication.

13. Assuming current rates of consumption remain stable, the health-related 
costs of marijuana use are very, very small in comparison with those costs 
associated with tobacco and alcohol consumption.

Legal marijuana means safer communities. Legal marijuana means police can 
work at solving crimes, rather than enforcing morality. Want grow 
operations out of Summerland? Don't call the cops; call your MP.

Neil MacNaughton

Oakville, Ontario
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