Pubdate: Thu, 04 Jan 2007
Source: Intelligencer, The (CN ON)
Page: 8
Copyright: 2007 Osprey Media Group Inc.
Author: Russell Barth


Re: City police vs. stone drivers - Dec. 20.

As a federal medical marijuana licence holder who is also married to
one, I am offended by your publication's complicity in this police
propaganda campaign against marijuana users. This is modern day
"reefer madness," fit only for the yellowest of journalists.

There is no proof that marijuana impairment is an increasing problem
on Canadian roads, because no study has ever been done.

The number of people using cannabis has increased over the past 15
years, as has the population of the country, and the number of cars on
the road. Yet the number of crashes has not gone up accordingly,
suggesting that increased marijuana use has, in fact, decreased car

Besides that, the only studies on marijuana and driving were done in
Europe, and they showed that cannabis users drive slower and more
cautiously than non-users.

Yet police still insist that marijuana users are increasing road
danger - despite having no proof, and being confronted by proof of the

Are we supposed to just "take the police's word for it"? Considering
how often police get caught lying about marijuana, it is difficult to
believe anything they say about anything.

Few Canadians remember that the laws originally prohibiting marijuana
were put in place in 1923 based on racist lies and supposed dangers to
society that never actually existed! It took until 1937 -14 years -
before a single possession charge was filed, which just goes to show
how much of a "danger" marijuana was at the time.

"He said when you consider how many people use marijuana, there can be
no doubt these individuals are getting behind the wheel after
smoking." That may or may not be true, but 'no doubt' without 'solid
proof' is hardly a mandate for sweeping new police powers.

We cannot allow this affront to our civil rights and liberties to move
forward, until the police prove that they need or deserve more
intrusive powers.

Russell Barth


Editor's note: The article actually refers to a 2004 study by the
Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse which supports police claims of
more drivers using cannabis and hashish up to two hours before driving. 
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