Pubdate: Wed, 23 Mar 2005
Source: St. Albert Gazette (CN AB)
Copyright: 2005 St. Albert Gazette
Author: Matthew Stonhouse


For those of you who wish to blame marijuana for this recent tragedy
involving the four RCMP officers, you are completely missing the point.

Marijuana did not cause this tragedy, this was the work of one
severely disturbed individual who was described by his own father as
"a wicked devil." Despite the unlawfulness of grow operations they
have virtually no blame in this incident, this was a disturbed
individual who was willing to break the laws that govern our country
and he should have been in jail. Marijuana did not kill those four
police officers, Mr. Roszko did.

But with that said, if marijuana had been legal prior to this tragedy
it is a safe bet that he would have been involved in some other
illegal activity such as producing crystal meth. People who break our
mores, taboos and laws are considered deviant. Roszko was a deviant
and his grow operation and possession of weapons was just another
instance of his commitment to breaking our laws.

This unfortunate incident has been jumped on by pot advocates who are
trying to establish that this would not have happened if pot had been
legal, this is complete nonsense. Many assume that if we legalize
marijuana then all these grow-ops will instantly go away and all these
dealers and growers will suddenly reform. Making an argument like this
is ignoring the fact that very few of these people grow or sell
marijuana to aid in alleviating the effects of some disease, helping
the general public, or out of some belief that marijuana is important
to society. There are few exceptions to the fact that people involved
with the marijuana trade are criminals and are involved in this
industry because they are willing to break the law and enjoy the
profits. Legalizing marijuana will not only lower prices and make this
industry monitored and controlled but it will motivate these
individuals, who have clearly demonstrated their willingness to break
the law, to continue breaking the law in some other fashion.

Would Al Capone have been a criminal if there had been no American
prohibition? Of course he would, just because alcohol was illegal did
not make the mafia and rumrunners suddenly decide to perform a public
service. The majority of these people were criminals before, during
and after prohibition and it will undoubtedly be the same in Canada
with marijuana even if it is legalized.

It may well be time to reconsider the ban on marijuana but any
decision should not be made under duress or based on the ill conceived
notion that legalization will enable us to down-size our justice
system, make our streets safer and enable persons involved in the pot
trade to suddenly become contributing, law abiding members of society.
Stiffer penalties are needed to not only deter the drug trade but to
ensure that our police officers are protected and recidivists such as
Roszko are kept in jail.

Matthew Stonhouse

St. Albert
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