Pubdate: Wed, 11 Jun 2003
Source: Otago Daily Times (New Zealand)
Copyright: Allied Press Limited, 2003
Note: Editorial note as published
Bookmark: (Cannabis)
Bookmark: (Decrim/Legalization)


RECENT ARTICLES in the ODT have highlighted the paradoxical nature of 
cannabis prohibition. Dunedin police, for example, claimed to have 
insufficient resources to deal with J-Day protesters smoking cannabis in 
their station (ODT, 5.5.03 and 6.5.03), yet they, and the courts, deemed it 
necessary to further devastate the lives of a couple who turned to cannabis 
in desperation for relief from a debilitating illness (ODT, 13.5.03). Your 
court news frequently carries reports of other medical cannabis users who 
suffer similar fates.

Furthermore, the assertion that medical science is "only just beginning to 
appreciate the huge therapeutic potential" of what may be "the aspirin of 
the 21st century" (ODT, 22.05.03) not only lends credibility to the claims 
of cannabis' medical benefit, it also shows the degree to which the truth 
about it has been suppressed. At the hearings of the 1937 Marijuana Tax 
Act, the American Medical Association's representative prophesied that the 
Act would "deprive the public of the benefits of a drug that on further 
research may be of substantial value". Even those sponsoring the Act 
recognised that cannabis had "valuable industrial, medical and scientific 

While smoking cannabis may not be, as your editorial noted (ODT, 9.5.03), a 
"crime of the century", the relentless persecution of those who find 
benefit from using this remarkable herb is merely the modern equivalent of 
witch burning or the Inquisition, and requires the same fallacious 
reasoning necessary to believe that the world was flat and the centre of 
the universe.

Jason Baker-Sherman, Dalmore

[Abridged. - Ed.]
- ---
MAP posted-by: Jackl