Pubdate: Fri, 30 Dec 2016
Source: Recorder & Times, The (CN ON)
Copyright: 2016 Recorder and Times
Author: Herb Couch
Page: A6


To the editor: Re: "Time to treat addiction as a mental health issue" by
Chris Nelson, December 27, Recorder and Times

I would certainly agree with columnist Chris Nelson that cannabis should
be legalized. Cannabis prohibition has been a complete failure.

He is correct when he says that drug prohibition is "among the deadliest
and costliest exercises society has tried."

Regulating cannabis is a much better approach to take.

We must, also, recognize that accurate, scientific, reality-based
information is necessary, in order for people to make informed decisions
about cannabis use.

It is very important to not spread misinformation about cannabis to the

Unfortunately, there are three areas where Chris Nelson is terribly
misinformed about cannabis:

1. The plant should be called cannabis. Chris should not be using slang
terms like dope, weed, stuff, pot, or marijuana.

The Final Report of the Task Force on Cannabis Legalization and Regulation
states, "We believe it is more appropriate to use the term cannabis when
engaging in a serious discussion of the goals and features of a new
regulatory system for legal access."

2. When it comes to safety, all drugs are not the same. Cannabis is a much
safer choice than alcohol, commercial tobacco, or fentanyl. In fact, no
one has ever died from a cannabis overdose. Compare that fact with the
many thousands and thousands of deaths from alcohol, tobacco, and fentanyl

Chris makes the absurd statement that "Arguing that smoking dope is safer
than drinking booze is akin to stating that getting shot in the leg is
preferable to taking one in the head."

Cannabis use is not "getting shot in the leg." That is just a silly,
exaggerated reefer madness scare tactic.

3. There is a big difference between drug use and misuse. All drug use is
not an addiction or a mental health issue.

Of course, any substance use involves risk. But it is important to talk
about alcohol, cannabis, tobacco, fentanyl and other drugs in a
sophisticated manner and distinguish between use and abuse.

The vast majority of people who use cannabis, use it in a responsible
manner. For many people it is a valuable medicine.

Cannabis use is really a health issue and civil rights issue.

Let's legalize and regulate cannabis, right now, and encourage honest,
scientific, compassionate, health and evidence-based information and

That will help people make wise choices.

Herb Couch,

Nelson, British Columbia
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