Pubdate: Fri, 08 Feb 2008
Source: Winnipeg Free Press (CN MB)
Copyright: 2008 Winnipeg Free Press
Author: Steve Oetting


I disagree with Andrea Danelak's opinions about pot legalization,
although I promise to never confront her with stares, insults or
accusations (I'm stone cold against pot legalization, Feb. 5).
Instead, I would offer her just a few facts that might encourage her
to reconsider.

A study provided to the Senate Special Committee on Illicit Drugs by
the University of Toronto Centre for Addiction and Mental Health rated
the physical dependency of alcohol as very strong, marijuana as weak;
emotional dependency of alcohol very strong, marijuana weak;
neurotoxicity of alcohol high, marijuana zero; general toxicity of
alcohol high, marijuana very low; and the risk to society of alcohol
high, marijuana low. The cost to the Canadian judicial system for
marijuana enforcement was estimated at $400 million a year. This could
pay for four million dental checkups for impoverished children at an
average cost of $100 per visit.

Keeping marijuana illegal benefits criminal gangs. Marijuana sales
provide criminal gangs a lucrative source of revenue that supports
many other criminal activities such as child pornography,
prostitution, the proliferation of marijuana and more serious drugs to
our children, gun violence, and even terrorism. The legalization of
marijuana would have more impact on eliminating criminal gang activity
in Canada than anything else we might do.

Steve Oetting

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