Pubdate: Wed, 26 Oct 2005
Source: Haliburton County Echo, The (CN ON)
Copyright: 2005sOSPREY Media Group Inc.
Author: Dave Switzer
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Canada)


To the Editor:

Prime Minister Martin is committed to pushing legislation through 
Parliament that would decriminalize possession of up to 15 grams of marijuana.

Marijuana is much more harmful than cigarettes, but the Liberal government 
refuses to enforce the current law restricting marijuana use. As a result, 
according to a Statistics Canada report published in 2002, an estimated 
12.2% of Canadians admit to smoking marijuana, twice as many as in 1989. 
Canada has spent so much money, time and effort to encourage citizens to 
stop smoking cigarettes and we plead with our youth not to start smoking, 
that it seems very foolish to decriminalize possession of marijuana, a drug 
many times more harmful than cigarettes.

Here is a list of the harmful side effects caused by the use of marijuana, 
compiled by Dr. Barry Dworkin, Assistant Professor of Family Medicine, 
University of Ottawa, as reported in the Ottawa Citizen, Sept. 9, 2003:

- - Marijuana tar content is four times greater than tobacco, and contains 
50% more cancer causing chemicals. Inhaling from a joint of marijuana 
delivers almost twice as much smoke, inhalation time lasts one-third 
longer, and breath holding is four times longer than cigarette smoking.

- - Daily smoking by young women causes a five-fold increase in depression 
and anxiety.

- - Marijuana reduces testosterone levels and causes impotence, impaired sex 
drive, and breast development (gynecomastia) in males. Infertility in males 
is a risk because of a reduction in sperm counts and sperm motility.

- - More than five joints a week can impair brain functions, such as 
learning, memory and intelligence.

- - Individuals who test positive for THC are more often involved in fatal 
traffic accidents.

- - Marijuana is physically addictive after 21 days include irritability, 
agitation, depression, insomnia, nausea, loss of appetite and the "shakes." 
These symptoms peak in 48 hours and last five to seven days.

Society at large and the laws of this nation should hold up a high standard 
of what's good or bad, right or wrong. As we can see from the study done by 
Dr. Dworkin, the use of marijuana is very harmful to the users health. 
Adults must encourage others and especially our youth not to smoke 
cigarettes or use marijuana. We must also demand that our government not 
decriminalize the possession of marijuana, but enforce the present law.

Dave Switzer,

West Guilford
- ---
MAP posted-by: Jo-D