Pubdate: Fri, 31 Jan 2014
Source: South Delta Leader (Delta, CN BC)
Copyright: 2014 South Delta Leader
Author: Ralph Howey


I am writing to urge Mayor Jackson and councillors to educate
themselves and ensure they have all the current facts concerning the
evolution of Canadian thinking in dealing with cannabis.

I was a volunteer and canvasser in Delta South for SensibleBC during
their campaign last fall under an Elections BC Initiative. The
initiative was for a referendum on marijuana reform here in B.C. In
order to prepare myself to answer questions and to be able to debate
knowledgeably on the subject I studied everything I could find. During
the campaign I talked to people from all over the city but majority of
my time was spent in Ladner and Tsawwassen. I talked to hundreds of
people from Delta South and this was the highlight of my time spent
canvassing for this cause.

My conclusion? I did the right thing standing up for the reform of
marijuana laws here in Canada. My study taught me cannabis was less
harmful than drinking alcohol and the only caution noted was people
with a family background of mental illness or those with schizophrenia
should not use cannabis. I was not aware of the wonderful medicinal
qualities of cannabis until I met dozens of people who would proudly
show me their "medical marijuana" certificate and explain how it had
helped them. Health Canada predicts 500,000 medical users by 2024.

What can you do for the people of Delta to interpret this new
thinking? Certainly not continuing with the lies and demonization and
criminalization. Certainly not by pushing "us" to the fringes of our

Failing to confront this challenge only strengthens the criminal
element currently supplying the need. Other risks include sentencing a
fellow citizen to a lifelong "ball and chain" with a criminal
conviction and it prevents government oversight, quality assurance and

I could go on and on but I risk losing your attention when what I
really wanted to do was open your eyes.

Think positive: Reduced policing costs, reduced criminal opportunity,
tax revenue, quality assurance for the people who choose to use. How
about greenhouses on the roof of that new warehouse at Boundary Bay
Airport? There are almost a million square feet and that's 22 acres
that doesn't take up farmland. Nice and secure up on the roof, too. Or
maybe the Tsawwassen First Nation is interested? They'll have 1.8
million square feet to deal with.

Please, please, you don't really have a lot of say in how the
marijuana laws of Canada are written but what you do say reeks with
your knee-jerk reactions. Making comments about "all aspects" of what
sounds like a "black death" is just parochial in 2014. Relax, and
maybe talk to a younger person about how they feel.

Finally, educate yourself, talk to us, your constituents, and then
spend that great political capital you have and make all Delta proud
of you. Support the medical, industrial, and recreational uses of this
fine plant.

Ralph Howey

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