Pubdate: Mon, 25 Apr 2016
Source: Courier, The (Dundee, UK)
Copyright: DC Thomson & Co Ltd
Author: Mike Donachie


Laws on Tobacco Smoking Should Extend to Marijuana

It's time to legalise marijuana, then ban it again. Here's why. The 
Canadian government chose April 20 to make the announcement that 
cannabis will be legalised next spring, in the latest progressive 
move by the new Liberal government. The news had been coming for a 
while, because it was an election pledge last year but the date was 
significant because it was "4-20", when weed enthusiasts get together 
to call for changes in the law. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's 
government beat them to it with a morning announcement.

It meant a celebratory mood in many cities, where people gathered to 
smoke dope in public and, in past times, get arrested for it.

This time, police action was pointless and I suppose it always was. 
Why lock someone up for getting a bit silly, giggly and paranoid?

The movement to legalise cannabis is nothing new, of course but in 
recent times it's been gathering momentum.

Just to the south in the US, a dozen states have relaxed drug laws in 
one way or another and four  Colorado, Oregon, Alaska and Washington 
have made cannabis completely legal.

Canada, like 23 US states, already allows medical use of marijuana 
and in fact has so many dispensaries the authorities are struggling 
to regulate them.

It was only a matter of time before the federal government legalised 
recreational use, too. It's the right thing to do and the UK needs to 
follow this lead.

This is not the 1950s, with ill-informed warnings of reefer madness. 
It's time for a sensible approach to soft drugs and the Canadian 
government is fully on board with a harm reduction strategy. However, 
that's where we need to stop and think. "Harm reduction" admits 
cannabis is harmful. There are disagreements about its medical 
effects but it is accepted cannabis smoke contains about 50 things 
that cause cancer. It's bad for you.

Ironically, there are now calls to ban marijuana a second time, to 
control second-hand smoke. I support that, too, because laws on 
tobacco smoking should extend to marijuana, to protect public health.

I say smoke 'em if you got 'em but be polite.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom