Pubdate: Mon, 08 Aug 2005
Source: Nelson Daily News (CN BC)
Copyright: 2005 Nelson Daily News
Author: Maurice A. Rhodes


To the Editor:

Re: "Nelsonites watching Pot King Marc Emery's U.S. saga" front page NDN,
Thursday, August 4, 2005.

Those who know me would hardly accuse me of being left-wing or an
advocate of street drug usage.  But the latest action of the U.S.
angers me,as I am sure it does many others.

We are familiar with American bullying in the matter of softwood
lumber, in their overreaction to one case of mad cow disease, and
their arrogant attempt to build a power generating plant just over our
border near Sumas. But this latest aggression by American DEA
authorities leaves me speechless - first that they would try this
nonsense on a Canadian citizen, and secondly that our own police and
politicians would allow it.

If there is such a treaty allowing it, we should immediately repudiate
it in respect to marijuana.  Our courts should refuse extradition
because of unreasonable punishment in the U.S., which is way out of
scale in comparison with our present government's intention toward a
more intelligent law on marijuana.  Any criminal activity associated
with marijuana is obviously because of the money to be made from its
illegal status, as well as the continuing ridiculous attitude about
its use by American government and police forces.

The Americans have a long history of paranoia about marijuana.  I read
that the first known use of the weed in the U.S. was occasioned by the
return of American Mormons from Mexico during the Mexican Revolution.
At that time, that sect was not itself exactly welcomed by the U.S.
government.  Next, the Americans were upset by the infiltration of
illegal Mexicans immigrants in the 1930s who brought their habits with
marijuana and peyote with them.  The present U.S. Bush administration,
comprised mainly of people who could pass for unt cases - particularly
the head of the DEA - have managed to brainwash themselves that
marijuana is dangerous, a preliminary to "our kids being introduced to
hard drugs." Not only have several independent and reputable studies
shown that to be nonsense, but they have proven the positive effects
of its use for those in pain or beset by sickness from anti-cancer
drugs. And it would be ridiculous to allow innocent use but
criminalize supply.

The use of hard drugs by young folk is said by experts to be a
multifaceted problem, not the least is their social setting and family
abuse, verbal or physical.  The American approach also encourages
police corruption in payoffs or sidelining illegal product.

Unfortunately, our own police forces have been influenced by this
misinformation which has filled American prisons with youth who have
done much less wrong than their parents have done by the use of booze,
a far more harmful substance when abused.

While our courts are traditionally uninfluenced by public opinion, I
hope the justice handling the extradition case uses common sense and
flatly turns down the American request.  Our government should
instruct our police not to cooperate with the DEA in respect to
marijuana and instruct the DEA either to remove their offices from
Canada, or limit their intelligence gathering to hard drugs.

Maurice A. Rhodes

Nelson, B.C.
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