Pubdate: Thu, 16 Mar 2006
Source: Hamilton Spectator (CN ON)
Copyright: 2006 The Hamilton Spectator
Author: Wayne Phillips
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Canada)
Bookmark: (Cannabis and Driving)


Re: 'Keep marching, pot crusader says; B.C.'s Emery says protests must go
on despite arrests at Hamilton cafe' (March 10) and "Enjoy a true 'high' by
shunning pot and helping other people" (letter, March 14)

It is sad that one of the most innovative businesses in the province
is targeted by police and wrong-headedly maligned by detractors.

The Up in Smoke Cafe is a registered business that contributes to
offsetting residential property taxes in Hamilton.

It has contributed to the reduction of problematic dope smoking
downtown and added to the dynamic of the core as a vibrant community,
controversial but relevant nevertheless.

The most significant reason for backing off the Up in Smoke Cafe is
that it gives a presence to those who represent an alternative that
would otherwise be swept under the carpet and dismissed as irrelevant
because, after all, cannabis is prohibited and illegal.

It matters little to detractors that prohibition provides a ready-made
environment in which organized crime thrives.

With organized crime comes gangs, guns, the potential for police
corruption and no apparent concern that the prohibition of cannabis is
based on conjecture, misinformation and fear-mongering.

In short, prohibition is the threat to order and good governance
because prohibition is the impetus driving gangs, guns and organized
crime, not cannabis or the cafe.

The Up in Smoke Cafe stands as a voice for those whom the status quo
would serve up as fodder just to give the appearance that enforcement
is working.

It is not. Cannabis use remains the political hot potato that will not
go away. 
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MAP posted-by: Tom