Pubdate: Fri, 02 Nov 2012
Source: Record, The (CN BC)
Copyright: 2012 Lower Mainland Publishing Group Inc.
Author: Colin Walker


Dear Editor:

Re: Legalization not the answer, Letters to the Editor, The Record, Oct. 10.

I respect Mr. Wormald's opinion but I think it is quite uninformed.

Legalization is the only answer.

Conclusion of the Senate Report on Cannabis-2002 (you know, the 
report even the NDP hates): "This final section sets out the main 
conclusions drawn from all this information and presents the 
resulting recommendations derived from the thesis we have developed 
namely: in a free and democratic society, which recognizes 
fundamentally, but not exclusively, the rule of law as the source of 
normative rules and in which government must promote autonomy as far 
as possible and therefore make only sparing use of the instruments of 
constraint, public policy on psychoactive substances must be 
structured around guiding principles respecting the life, health, 
security and rights and freedoms of individuals, who, naturally and 
legitimately, seek their own well-being and development and can 
recognize the presence, difference and equality of others."

There is only a philosophical dilemma if you assume you (via the 
government) have the authority to make someone else's choice(s). In 
terms of protecting citizens from each other, this is justice. If we 
attempt to protect people from themselves, we are usurping their 
choices. I would point out that cannabis was made illegal in Canada 
with no debate, mired in racism and misinformation, and as it turns 
out, the prohibition is far more harmful to society on many levels 
than cannabis could ever be.

I find it disingenuous to compare cannabis and alcohol (or tobacco) 
in terms of harm, as if they were even close to each other in 
toxicity, yet ignore the comparison with the 1920s prohibition of 
alcohol. All the crime and violence that was associated with alcohol 
prohibition exists today with drug prohibition. Criminals are the 
biggest beneficiary of the current system.

The suggestion that the law dissuades people from using is evidently 
not true. It may stop some, but humans are inherently curious and as 
soon as someone says no, many want that forbidden object/activity 
even more. The forbidden fruit tastes twice as sweet.

What B.C. mayors have done is send a strong message to the federal 
government whose new mandatory minimum laws will increase violence, 
costs, and problems associated maintaining cannabis prohibition. 
After all, it will be the local governments who will be paying for 
the Conservatives punitive policies.

Health Canada has always made getting exemptions difficult, doctors 
do not want to be gateways to substances that are not normalized into 
clinical dosages, so many people chose not to undergo the process of 
getting legal cannabis and just use it anyways. The Health Canada 
rules have been repeatedly shown to be unconstitutional and this 
government wants to deny personal grower exemptions to drive up the 
cost for sick and dying people to maintain the prohibition on 
recreational usage of cannabis.

Mr. Wormald also has no problem denying other peoples rights to a 
peaceful life of freedom because they use cannabis over a beer. 
Further, he goes on to assume he knows what individuals need or don't 
need to enjoy their lives. It's just not my business what you do in 
the privacy of your home if its all consenting adults making their own choices.

For some people, life is full of suffering that they seek to escape. 
For some of those people, cannabis is a preferred option. Right or 
wrong, this won't change. Prohibition marginalizes and seeks to 
eliminate this sub-group in society. It borders on genocide. In some 
places, they kill people over drugs yet never seem to run out of 
people to kill. I do not condone the states use of violence upon its 
citizens for consuming a plant. There is a magic cure, it's "live and 
let live."

Colin Walker,

New Westminster
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