Pubdate: Thu, 06 Oct 2005
Source: Los Angeles City Beat (CA)
Copyright: 2005 Southland Publishing
Author: Fred Mallach
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal - Canada)
Bookmark: (Decrim/Legalization)
Bookmark: (Harm Reduction)


I want to commend Dean Kuipers for his excellent article "The Strange and 
Seedy Case of Marc Emery, Canadian" [Re: Cover story, Sept. 22]. As a 
Canadian, I have been following this story very closely from my side of the 
border. Canadian news coverage was slow to start mainly because of the 
timing of the arrests, which occurred at the beginning of a long weekend in 
Canada. But since then, there has been steady coverage of the story in the 
Canadian media. Not so for the American media.

In February, I became the Marijuana Party of Canada candidate for Victoria, 
British Columbia. So far this year (which is not over yet), a number of 
major events have happened in both of our countries:

The massacre of four Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers in rural 
Alberta was initially blamed on a marijuana grow operation when, in fact, 
the killer was a psychotic and a known cop hater. The U.S. Supreme Court, 
in its ruling on Gonzales v. Raich, made possession of medical marijuana 
illegal even in the states where medical marijuana is allowed. Health 
Canada approved the sale of Sativex, which is a tincture of cannabis used 
to treat pain in MS patients. The U.S. government is trying to extradite 
Renee Boje for marijuana conspiracy charges in California. The DEA uncovers 
the infamous drug tunnel from British Columbia to Washington State. One 
shipment of marijuana was allowed to go through, but there are claims that 
the tunnel would be used to smuggle other, more dangerous drugs, guns, and 

The DEA arrests Marc Emery and two others on charges of conspiracy to 
manufacture marijuana, conspiracy to distribute marijuana seeds and 
conspiracy to engage in money laundering. They also dismantled and shut 
down the BC Marijuana Party headquarters, Cannabis Culture magazine, and 
Internet-based POT-TV. Karen P. Tandy, DEA Administrator brags that the 
U.S. government has struck a serious blow against marijuana legalization 
movements. It seems that the United States and Canada are heading in 
opposite directions regarding the legalization of cannabis.

The majority of Canadians support legalization of marijuana. The Fraser 
Institute in British Columbia (similar to the CATO Institute) estimates 
that the marijuana industry [generates] at least $7 billion in British 
Columbia per year. Add to that the policing, court, and incarceration 
costs, and that is a huge loss to the economy and to society. This money 
could be used to fund harm-reduction programs such as health care, 
education, and housing for at-risk or addicted individuals. As a society, 
we have to decide if the war on marijuana is worth the effort. Canadians 
have already made that decision: It's not!



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