Pubdate: Mon, 30 Aug 2004
Source: StarPhoenix, The (CN SN)
Copyright: 2004 The StarPhoenix
Author: Ken Sailor


If anyone needs to understand the importance of ending the prohibition of 
marijuana, take a look at the sentence given to Marc Emery for passing a 
joint (Jail time shocks pot prince, SP, Aug. 26).

Marijuana is neither dangerous to an individual nor harmful to society. 
This is not my opinion, but the findings of at least six national reports 
in Canada, Britain and the United States, including the recent report of 
our Senate committee on illicit drugs, the Le Dain Commission, the 
Laguardia Report, the Schafer Report, the Wooten Report and the India hemp 

The harmlessness of marijuana has been understood for more than 100 years 
and yet here we go, throwing a man into prison for what is known to be 

We are supposed to be protected from arbitrary laws. We can't be thrown in 
jail for race or religion, and we are also protected for our lifestyle 
choices, just as it says in article 7 of the Charter.

Even if the government passes a law prohibiting me from wearing blue, it 
must show significant harm relating to wearing blue before the law can be 
enforced. In the case of marijuana, the government has never demonstrated 
harm. On the contrary, government commissions have found no justifying harm 
and have published that information for all to read.

Emery's sentence is an arbitrary exercise of authority, based on ignorance 
and superstition. You may not like to be around someone who has used 
marijuana but that is not enough to criminalize them, just as you may not 
like Jews or blacks but your prejudice does not justify laws that restrict 
their freedom.

The time has come to be done with this bizarre chapter of history. 
Marijuana is a multi-billion dollar industry in Canada and is a substance 
used by people in every walk of life (including judges and prosecuting 

Emery as an outspoken advocate for rational policy deserves an apology, if 
not compensation.

Ken Sailor

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