Pubdate: Mon, 30 Aug 2004
Source: Ottawa Citizen (CN ON)
Copyright: 2004 The Ottawa Citizen
Author: Jodie Giesz-Ramsay
(Canadian Senate Committee on Illegal Drugs)
Bookmark: (Decrim/Legalization)


Re: Five years for sharing, AUG. 26.

I commend the Citizen for this editorial. It's about time we started
discussing the real facts about marijuana.

No one seems to remember that a Senate special committee concluded two
years ago that our marijuana laws and their enforcement are harmful to

The report stated that "the continued prohibition of cannabis
jeopardizes the health and well-being of Canadians much more than does
the substance itself," and that scientific evidence overwhelmingly
indicates that cannabis is substantially less harmful than cigarettes
or alcohol and should be treated not as a criminal issue but as a
social and public-health issue.

This report has been ignored. Why?

The claims that marijuana is deadly and brain-damaging have been
discredited many times, so why should anyone go to jail for using marijuana?

Prohibition has failed in the past, and the illegality of alcohol made
it a lucrative business for criminals. It's no longer just grandma
growing marijuana in her backyard; it's the Hells Angels and other
gangs producing field upon field. That's who we should be putting
behind bars, the crack cocaine and methamphetamine makers, the street
drug dealers, the people who make an enormous profit from a simple
plant, just because it's illegal.

If prohibition continues and the new decriminalization bill is not
revised, we will continue to see friends and loved ones put away for
smoking a herb -- and even for simply passing a joint.

I hope that isn't the Canadian way. We should all demand an end to
this failed and unjust war on marijuana.

Jodie Giesz-Ramsay

Vancouver, B.C.
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