Pubdate: Sat, 15 Dec 2012
Source: Calgary Herald (CN AB)
Copyright: 2012 Canwest Publishing Inc.
Author: Mark Botkin


Re: "Legalized pot opens Pandora's box of problems," Susan Martinuk, 
Opinion, Dec. 7.

I am not an advocate of recreational self-medication in any form. 
However, when a reputable paper like the Herald gives voice to the 
"my opinions trump your logic" crowd, I get a headache.

Susan Martinuk's column is so crammed with histrionics and 
pseudo-intellectual rationalization, it is hard to know where to 
start dissecting it.

The argument that because it is illegal it must be bad, is one of the 
more sinister aspects of the distorted reasoning that prevails with 
emotional issues. While law-abiding behaviour is generally a laudable 
trait, the context in which it is presented here seems to suggest 
there is no such thing as a bad law. If, as she says "... the primary 
reason young people gave for not using cannabis or for stopping its 
use was its illegal status," any consideration of the validity of the 
prohibition law is rendered moot!

Another questionable aspect of this diatribe is the uncritical 
reference to studies purporting to support a particular belief, as 
long as it is the belief being promoted. Martinuk cites a "study of 
14,000 Ontarians" claiming to show that "anxiety and mood disorders 
were most common among daily marijuana users." This is a completely 
meaningless correlation without any causal mechanism to explain it.

It could be that people with mood disorders are simply more likely to 
use marijuana. I have always believed in the notion that the bedrock 
of democracy is formed from the unwavering support of the principle 
that an issue important enough to motivate legislated sanctions is 
also important enough to demand a reasoned discussion of its merits. 
Now, I am going to self-medicate with an aspirin for this headache.

Mark Botkin,

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