Pubdate: Fri, 14 May 2010
Source: Langley Advance (CN BC)
Copyright: 2010 Lower Mainland Publishing Group Inc.
Author: Travis Erbacher


Dear Editor,

Russell Barth offered many cogent arguments [Drugs: Effective 
arguments abound, May 7 Letters,], however he 
was not exhaustive.

Yet another reason to consider re-legalizing cannabis is the way in 
which it was made illegal in the first place.

The campaign to make drug-use illegal was not a public health 
campaign. Much like the movement to ban alcohol, prohibition was 
forced upon the nation by religious zealots who thought that they had 
the right to control the private behaviour of others.

It was said that smoking two puffs of marijuana made one a homicidal 
maniac, and this was often attributed to demonic possession.

Another important factor was race. Drug prohibition was supported by 
religious fundamentalists, but the main reason that it was brought in 
was to allow the police to round up all of the Chinese-Canadian 
immigrants and throw them out. In 1922, three-quarters of those 
jailed for drug offenses were of Chinese ancestry.

The first drug laws in this country were large taxes on opium dens, 
which when combined with the "head tax," were supposed to drive the 
Chinese to financial ruin.

To this day, First Nations youth are disproportionately affected by 
our prohibitionist policies.

The prime minister apologized for the head tax, and he should 
apologize for prohibition. It was a racist policy that had no basis 
in fact. It is the most egregious assault on individual liberty and 
does not belong in a so-called "free" society.

Travis Erbacher,

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