Pubdate: Fri, 08 Aug 2003
Source: Surrey Leader (CN BC)
Copyright: 2003 Surrey Leader
Author: Matthew M. Elrod


While I sympathize with Andrew Holota, whose former home was damaged by
cannabis growers, ("The home that went to pot," July 27), I believe his
anger toward our courts is misdirected.

In an effort to "send a message to the kids" we have abdicated the
manufacturing and distribution of cannabis to the underworld. In a crusade
for a "drug-free" utopia, we have made this easily grown herb literally
worth its weight in gold.

When we prohibited cannabis in 1923, then rumoured to be used by black jazz
musicians to seduce white women, few Canadians had even heard of the plant.
Now we celebrate the 80th anniversary of cannabis prohibition with our
schools awash in pot. The surest way to score a bag is to ask any teenager.

Some say we export more ganja than we consume and the forbidden herb has
become our most lucrative cash crop.

The press and the police regale us with tales of suburban homes generating
"somewhere between $2 million and $4 million" tax free, and how any moron
with a closet or spare bedroom can get rich quick with a few parts from any
hardware store.

Some of us naturally ask ourselves what we are waiting for. Maybe we too
should jump on the drug war gravy train before they legalize it and put the
growers, and growbusters, out of business.

If Ottawa prohibited alcohol to win the political support of frightened
parents, police unions and anti-booze activists, ignoring stacks of
scholarly works, government-commissioned studies and committee reports
strongly advising against it, and our communities became predictably plagued
with gangland warfare, home invasions, fires and damaged homes from illicit
distilleries and breweries, would we blame the courts?

Matthew M. Elrod

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