Pubdate: Fri, 18 Mar 2005
Source: Elmira Independent (CN ON)
Copyright: 2005 Elmira Independent
Author: Gail Martin
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Canada)


The recent death of four RCMP officers in the line of duty has brought
forward many questions about our current state of law enforcement. In
particular, it raises the question of just how dangerous these
marijuana-grow operations can be.

Until the March 3 deaths of these four young men, I believe that
Canadians had an air of complacency about the extent of the illegal
drug market in our country.

After all, most of us reasoned, if people choose to do drugs, they are
only hurting themselves.

Let them be, we concluded.

Well, we now have irrefutable evidence that at least one operation has
caused irreparable harm to four families, as well as the friends of
Anthony Gordon, Leo Johnston, Brock Myrol and Peter Schiemann.

I think it is important for us to realize just how much money can be
made by these illegal operations -- and just how far some are willing
to go to protect that source of illegal revenue.

While James Roszko, the killer of the four RCMP officers was known as
a cop hater, I still believe that there are other grow operations in
this country that could be just as deadly in the future.

There is a huge market for marijuana in this country alone, and an
even larger potential market in the United States. American officials
have long expressed concern about the marijuana that makes it across
the border on a regular basis.

It is big business.

I have seen first-hand just how willing young teens are to experiment
with drugs. Many of them come from troubled backgrounds, and are more
than willing to find an easy escape.

>From what I have seen, there are more teens who have tried marijuana
than those who haven't; and, for those who are most vulnerable, they
will likely make it a lifelong habit. For some, it will even lead to
harder, more dangerous drugs.

I believe that marijuana, while written off as relatively harmless by
many, causes far more problems in our society than have yet been
discovered. We know the ills that alcohol abuse has brought, and yet
have convinced ourselves that this other escape from reality is
harmless. I don't think so.

When the most vulnerable and aimless members of our society are likely
turn to something like marijuana for comfort, our entire nation suffers.

I believe that more has to be done in this country to make it more
difficult for teens to get this drug, and to punish unscrupulous
growers and dealers from exploiting the most vulnerable in our society.

There are those who say that the occasional recreational use of
marijuana is harmless, and will push for the legalization of the drug.

I would respond by saying that I have yet to find anything truly
redeeming about the use of drugs. At best, it adds nothing to society.
At worst, it takes a lot.

Knowing where this drug can and does lead in many cases, I think we
are better off spending our efforts in cutting out this dangerous
source of revenue to the criminal element in our society.

If these officers had been backed up by more resources, or if Roszko
had never been allowed to get this far out of control, perhaps these
officers would still be alive today.

Let's make sure that their deaths have not been in vain, and start
pushing for tougher penalties for those who, like Roszko, disdain the
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