Pubdate: Wed, 23 Mar 2005
Source: Xaverian Weekly, The (CN NS Edu)
Copyright: 2005 The Xaverian Weekly
Author: G. Andrew MacDonald
Note: headline by  MAP


Dear Editor,

Last week Greg Markey's column, On the Mark - "Tragedy brings tough
questions", addressed the tragedy in Mayerthorpe Alta.

Particularly galling was Mr. Markey's assertion that "If marijuana
were legalized . . . it would be harder to control the production,
selling and consumption of such a drug.  Instead of having significant
control over its production, there would be next to none. 
Legalization would simply make tragedies like this happen more
frequently, not less."  This argument ignores history; despite the
ludicrous tax levied against booze, we all cheerfully swill it without
recourse to illegal stills.  The RCMP estimates 15,000 grow ops (i.e.
a lot more than the 20 plants of Roszco) thriving across the country. 
Is this "significant control"?  Does Markey really believe there would
be more grow-ops should the weed be legalized?

Unfortunately, this ignores the elephant to the south (over 80% of our
trade) and their proven ability to forsake reality for ideology.  The
sad fact is that 99% of the marijuana grown in Canada is NOT for the
domestic market.  Legalizing the weed would certainly lead to a
crack-down at the border as US custom's officials tried to stem the
tide, and that would hurt our trade.  Would money lost in trade offset
money gained from herb tax?  15% of billions is a lot, but . . . not
enough.  What of the social benefits?  The only group happy with the
status quo are the Hell's Angels!  We can continue to haemorrhage
money into a police crack down that doesn't work - 15,000 grow ops! -
Or we can bite the economic bullet, legalize the green, take the trade
hit, and pray we can influence the US to follow our lead.  Only when
MJ is legal throughout NAFTA can we profit.

G. Andrew MacDonald
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MAP posted-by: Larry Seguin