Pubdate: Tue, 14 Oct 2008
Source: Langley Times (CN BC)
Copyright: 2008 Langley Times
Author: Tony Smith



Edy D. in his letter (The Times, Oct. 5) did get one thing right. If 
every child had a happy, carefree, loving childhood, there would be 
far fewer drug users. There would however still be some, from genetic 
aberrations and other factors we cannot understand today.

All drugs are bad. So are alcohol, tobacco, gambling, overeating, 
undereating, making caustic statements, having a bad attitude, etc.

If we look at the history of drugs, we find marijuana has been in use 
for some 8,000 years, opium and its by-products for 4,000 years and 
cocaine for a similar period of time. They only became illegal in the 
1920s, and since then we have spent billions of dollars in efforts to 
exclude them from society.

Today we have the same proportion of chronic drug addicts as we had 
when they were legal, only the wasted money is missing. What we have 
in addition is violent murderous gangs, who make their money from the 
distribution of drugs and ensure there is a dealer on every block, 
and outside every school.

When the dealers are arrested or killed, all that does is to create a 
job opportunity for the next one in line. In addition, at least 75 
per cent of all property crime is commited by addicts to support 
their drug use.

Edy's reference to self-abuse is interesting, as in the 19th Century 
when drugs were legal, there was a huge campaign against self-abuse 
or masturbation, as it was felt that it was destroying society. 
Children caught engaging in self-abuse were beaten half to death to 
reform them.

If we look at the facts regarding marijuana, we find that prominently 
published medical studies, such as a recent one in the U.K.'s Lancet, 
consider marijuana to have far less bad effects than alcohol or 
tobacco. Half of all tobacco smokers will die from their habit, and 
it is easy to ingest fatal amounts of alcohol.

It is impossible to overdose on marajuana and there has never been a 
case where marijuana use alone has caused cancer.

In Holland, small amounts of marijuana can be legally bought in the 
coffee shops. Their rates of marijuana usuage are only half those in 
the U.S., which has the world's most draconian laws against the drug. 
In addition, the numbers of hard drug users is only half that of the U.S.

The coffee shops only sell marijuana and they are not pushing kids to 
try more addictive drugs, unlike our schoolyard pushers here.

No, Edy, I don't smoke dope and have never used any illegal 
substance. I do, however, take the time to confirm my facts from a 
variety of sources, which is so easily done today.

Tony Smith, Langley
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