Pubdate: Wed, 11 Aug 2004
Source: St. Albert Gazette (CN AB)
Copyright: 2004 St. Albert Gazette
Author: Dave Burkhart


As the good stalwart Christian we all know she is, you would think
Denise Mountenay would feel guilty about not divulging the truth in
her marijuana rants (Martin's marijuana policies are sending the wrong
message to young Canadians, Gazette letters, July 28). Apparently not.

What she neglected to tell us about Dr. Atul Kapur, president of
Physicians for a Smoke-Free Canada, is that he is an active member of
the NDP, a party openly out of the closet in favour of decriminalizing
marijuana. Kapur isn't shy about it either -- go to his personal Web
site and the first thing that pops off the page is the bright orange
NDP logo.

It's not only liberals in Canada that support easing the ineffective
and unenforceable laws against marijuana. The majority of the Canadian
population supports this initiative to correct decades of injustice
and unwarranted persecution. Canadians are well-informed on the
subject. We know studies have proven that marijuana prohibition, like
alcohol prohibition once did, causes far more harm to society than
could ever accrue should the substance be legalized. And the
experience of other nations (the Netherlands for example) shows that
marijuana use actually decreases among young people when the laws are
relaxed. It's basic human nature. Tell people they can't have
something and it's like waving a red flag in front of a bull. Let them
have it and they couldn't care less for it.

As the name would lead you to believe, the Physicians for a Smoke-Free
Canada are against smoking any substance that might damage human
lungs. Mountenay didn't tell us this, but the physicians are not
against decriminalization of marijuana. It's the delivery mechanism,
not the drug they oppose. In fact, they condone an alternative method
of ingestion. The good doctors know how to accomplish their aims;
their Web site provides a dandy recipe for brownies, an excellent way
to partake of the herb and one sure to keep that nasty smoke out of
young lungs. In fact, last year the Physicians for a Smoke-Free Canada
sent some of their home-made brownies to the Minister of Health and
members of the Commons Health Committee to reinforce their message.

If Mountenay is really concerned about the message we are sending
young people, she should address the lies we have been telling them
for years about the supposed harm that comes from marijuana while we
allow big business to actively market more harmful legal drugs like
alcohol. The lies and hypocrisy sure don't do much to facilitate trust
in authority. In fact, those lies seriously compromise the
effectiveness of enforcement agencies in their efforts to control the
epidemic of truly harmful drugs like crystal meth.

Canadians know what we have to do to enact enlightened and effective
social policy. And it certainly doesn't involve maintaining obsolete
laws. I say let's get on with it. More power to Paul Martin.

Dave Burkhart,

St. Albert
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