Pubdate: Sat, 13 Aug 2005
Source: Duncan News Leader (CN BC)
Copyright: 2005 Duncan News Leader
Author: Tom Fletcher
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Canada)
Bookmark: (Decrim/Legalization)


The forces of anti-Americanism are in full throat after the arrest of B.C. 
Marijuana Party leader Marc Emery to stand trial in Seattle for selling 
seeds by mail-order.

The hard left in Kamloops (yes, there is one) sees the sinister hand of 
George W. Bush and Dick Cheney at work. In a letter to Kamloops This Week, 
Gary Williams muses that Canadian Gen. Rick Hillier's recent Donald 
Rumsfeld-style talk about whacking terrorists may be part of a pattern with 
this sudden crackdown on pot. He writes, "Indeed, I have to seriously 
wonder if Hillier, Defence Minister Bill Graham and the RCMP are now taking 
their directions from Washington."

At the North Shore Outlook, columnist Denny Boyd recalls the days when 
Tommy Chong lived on Marine Drive, and reminds us that the one-time member 
of the stoner comedy duo Cheech and Chong was recently busted in a U.S. 
crackdown on pot paraphernalia. Chong's crime? Selling custom bongs from a 
website. His punishment? Nine months in jail, a $20,000 fine and forfeiture 
of $120,000 worth of assets.

Even the staid Victoria News suggests in an editorial that the Canadian 
courts should refuse to extradite Emery to stand trial. This is highly 
unlikely, given the clear coordination between U.S. authorities and ours in 
the raid on Emery's Vancouver seed emporium, and his arrest in Halifax. 
Extradition treaties are not to be tossed away like tissues by any country 
that aspires to be a serious international player.

The Vernon Morning Star gets it right, saying it's up to Canada to say what 
it really means on pot. That's putting it mildly. The federal Liberals have 
made fools of themselves, posturing again and again about decriminalization 
(and lots of other legislative initiatives), only to let it die on the 
order paper for another self-serving snap election.

The law against selling seeds in Canada may not have been enforced for 30 
years, but it's still the law. Some places still take that seriously, but 
not southwestern B.C. Emery was jailed in Saskatchewan for passing a joint. 
In Saskatoon they call that "trafficking." On the steps of the Vancouver 
Art Gallery, they call it "Saturday."

I've met young people who think pot is already legal here. What are they to 
conclude when they turn on one of those new youth-oriented shows on CBC 
Newsworld, such as last year's "Play Goes to Pot." If you missed this 
"news" program, it featured host Jian Gomeshi sporting a custom t-shirt and 
microphone decorated with a pot leaf. A highlight was a marijuana tasting 
panel hosted by Emery, with a group on a couch blasting each other with 
"supertokes" from plastic bags, descending into giggling fools as they 
over-indulged. It was the dope equivalent of guzzling Jack Daniel's out of 
the bottle, Keith Richards-style. Your tax dollars at work, folks. 
Seriously, we need to grow up as a country. Right now we can't legalize 
marijuana without violating international treaties signed by us and the 
U.S. If we're going to decriminalize simple possession of small amounts, we 
should get on with it, although personally I don't see how it's going to do 
much for the problems of dangerous grow houses and organized crime. For 
now, Canada is a country that pretends to defend itself, pretends to be 
generous to the Third World, pretends to be a peacekeeper and pretends to 
legalize pot.
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