Pubdate: Mon, 28 Feb 2005
Source: Toronto Star (CN ON)
Copyright: 2005 The Toronto Star
Author: Doug Earl


Re: Cannabis debate a blast from past, Letter, Feb. 26.

Letter writer Tom Cook has driven me out of the closet. Time to stand up 
and declare that I've smoked pot for more than 30 years and encourage 
others to do so if they want. It's the least I can do to counter the tired, 
silly, ill-informed, Reefer Madness-type arguments against the legalization 
of pot like those put forward by Cook.

He can believe, if he wants, that cannabis use is not widespread among the 
"good and responsible citizens of Toronto." I'm sure he believes he's never 
met a pot smoker in his life. Over my life, I've met hundreds and hundreds 
of pot smokers from all walks of life, including many, many friends and 
family members. I have never met anyone who has attacked a lady, elderly or 
otherwise. I have never met anyone who has committed a crime to get his 
"fix." I've never met anyone who refers to it as a "fix."

I have met countless very cool, caring and creative people, generally broad 
and mellow in their outlook for whom marijuana use leads to long 
conversations, intense music appreciation and too many potato chips, not 
bug-eyed crime sprees or screaming, straight-jacketed trips to the 
emergency ward.

Any example Cook can conjure of someone behaving badly while under the 
influence of marijuana can be countered by countless examples of people who 
have not. Or by countless examples of people behaving badly under the 
influence of traffic.

Cook advises us to seek arguments against pot from the police. How about 
the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, which advocates the 
decriminalization of marijuana?

I just wish Cook would inform himself about the subject in a truly 
open-minded way, free of his obvious prejudices. I wish he would watch the 
excellent documentary Grass by Toronto filmmaker Ron Mann, which details 
how and why marijuana became illegal in the first place (you'll be 
surprised) and explains how most of us have been scared into just the kind 
of panic about pot that Cook demonstrates.

Better yet, I wish Cook would sit back on his couch, blow a big fat joint 
and ask himself honestly how he feels now.

Doug Earl, Toronto
- ---
MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom