Pubdate: Tue, 02 Dec 2003
Source: Banner, The (CN ON)
Copyright: 2003 The Orangeville Banner
Author: R. Jones


Dear Editor,

I'm writing in response to the article Grow houses a rising concern and the 
editorial A growing concern (The Banner, Nov. 18).

Missing from both your reporting and your editorial position is a fair look 
at why grow houses exist.

The Banner has focused its journalism on the only party which makes an 
income from the drug-trade/drug-war besides organized criminals -- the police.

There are many voices in the marijuana debate; police and criminals are 
just the loudest and most dangerous.

The debate should instead be focused on the real stakeholders: users (both 
medical and recreational), their caregivers, the government (which decides 
what is criminal, what is not, and what regulations are appropriate), and 
the scientific research community.

All other voices are biased by money, misinformation and "reefer madness." 
Like the debate over gay marriage, this is a decision that cannot be left 
to the majority, at the expense of the rights of the minority (in this 
case, the cannabis user).

Most good citizens will agree that grow houses are bad, dangerous, and 
criminal. If cannabis was legal and regulated, no one would have any reason 
to damage houses, steal hydro, booby-trap entrances, etc. What would be the 
point? Anyone can grow it in a garden, window-box, or even in a pot in the 
balcony window. Done properly, a grow operation can be built-to-code, 
safety inspected, and optimized for space and conditions. Alternately, 
users could get it at a designated retailer -- this is simply a question of 

Our federal government has made medical marijuana available to a very 
select few, and allowed others to grow their own, legally, under license 
from the Ministry of Health.

Bill C-38 (likely to die with Prime Minister Jean Chretien's departure) was 
to decriminalize possession of personal quantities and limited personal 
gardens. Our Canadian senate, after studying learned legal and scientific 
opinion and testimony from all interested parties, has recommended full 
legalization and regulation. Consistent, but opposing messages from police 
chiefs (pro-decriminalization and concerned with keeping the peace) and 
from police unions (pro drug-war and concerned with keeping their jobs) are 
biased -- the former by real world experience and public trust and 
expectations, the latter by personal employment potential. Which bias 
should we trust?

The debate over legal marijuana is a very hot topic, and we must be 
rational and intelligent in our analysis, not rash and ignorant. Until harm 
can be proven -- real harm, not more propaganda -- marijuana is being 
unfairly prohibited to preserve police budgets, which are better spent on 
real, not contrived crime.

OPP Det. Sgt. Jamie Ciotka is very mistaken when he states, "There are a 
few common factors that grow houses need to be profitable." There is only 
one factor: prohibition. End prohibition and regulate legal sales and you 
will end the dangerous, criminal grow house epidemic.

Instead of encouraging Dufferin County residents to spy and report on 
suspicious neighbours, The Banner should be outraged at this ongoing waste 
of resources. If The Banner's editorial board supports prohibition, it 
supports organized crime, plain and simple.

R. Jones,

Mulmur Township
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