Pubdate: Tue, 02 Dec 2003
Source: Banner, The (CN ON)
Copyright: 2003 The Orangeville Banner
Author: Jim Hickman


Dear Editor,

Your front-page coverage and editorial about marijuana grow houses (The 
Banner, Nov. 18) rightly pointed out safety issues. But I wonder if all 
your information was gleaned from a single OPP presentation.

For example, the police have shut down 50 such operations. And they 
estimate that 10 per cent of these grow houses will eventually be destroyed 
by fire. This sounds like a stretch to me. Assuming that law-enforcement 
officers probably only bust about 10 per cent of all the grow houses in 
operation, then there would be about 500 of them hereabouts.

So, have there been 50 house fires directly related to marijuana 
cultivation? If so, it hasn't been reported.

Also, there's a broader issue here: the efficacy of our pot laws in Canada. 
A study released earlier this week states that 30 per cent of all high 
school students have smoked marijuana in the past year. With large numbers 
of citizens of all ages indulging, is the war on pot a futile effort?

Grow houses exist because some people can make a lot of money trafficking. 
If the laws were changed -- as the federal LeDain Commission suggested over 
30 years ago -- the incentive for criminals wouldn't exist. And the cost to 
taxpayers for busting a half million citizens for marijuana possession 
wouldn't be on the books either.

Jim Hickman,

RR 1 Orangeville
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