Pubdate: Sun, 06 Oct 2013
Source: Morning Star, The (CN BC)
Copyright: 2013 The Morning Star
Author: Mark Levey


I must respond to the letter to the editor from Donald John (Sept. 
29/13) on the topic of Sensible B.C.

First of all, it is patently obvious that Mr. John has not read up on 
what Sensible B.C. proposes - nowhere do they say that they want to 
legalize marijuana.

What they do say is that they would like, "an amendment to the B.C. 
Police Act, which redirects all police in the province from using any 
police resources, including member time, on investigations, searches, 
seizures, citations, arrests or detentions related solely to simple 
possession of cannabis."

Had Mr. John taken the time to do some minimal research, he would 
have further discovered that, within the above-mentioned proposal, 
there would be a provision to deal with exactly the fears he has 
about the impact of this initiative on teens and young adults.

The Sensible Policing Act would add cannabis to the section of the 
B.C. Liquor Control Act which covers minors in possession of alcohol, 
thus enabling police offers to confiscate cannabis from a minor, in 
exactly the same fashion and with the same penalties as for alcohol.

Mr. John goes on to cite a litany of possible woes resulting from 
this proposed initiative, among them the following: poverty, lowered 
academic achievement, increased crime, social and behavioural 
problems and family breakdown.

I would like to ask Mr. John these questions: Have you ever smoked 
marijuana? Do you drink alcohol? Do you have children that are teens 
or young adults?

I ask these questions because, upon reading and re-reading your 
letter, my initial and lasting impressions were of someone ranting 
for the sake of ranting.

A little cohesive thought would have brought the following into 
discussion: the astronomical costs of policing and prosecution for a 
substance that was originally banned due to the behind-the-scenes 
political wrangling of a newspaper baron and a major chemical company.

Would you prefer that young people in B.C. come of age tarred with 
the stigma of a criminal record for the simple act of relaxing with a joint?

Would you prefer that these same young people instead learn how to 
drink themselves into oblivion?

I have no statistics to back this up, but I am confident in stating 
that the incidences of fatal car crashes, suicides, murders, thefts, 
etc. are not the result of teens or young adults experimenting with marijuana.

I have signed the referendum locally and urge others to do the same. 
Apart from the fact that I like marijuana, use it regularly, prefer 
it to alcohol and have no intention to stop its consumption, I am 
very concerned about the number of young people whose lives are 
irrevocably altered (and not for the better) by the draconian laws 
governing simple possession of a substance that has been used for 
thousands of years, by people all over this world.

I hope this letter generates both discussion and a response from Mr. John.

Mark Levey

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