Pubdate: Thu, 26 Mar 1998
Date: March 26, 1998
Source: London Free Press (CAN)
Author: Chad Michael Burkhart

Kudos to Ross Rabagliati for bringing home the gold and for rehashing the
drug debate in this country. 

About 600 000 Canadians have been convicted of simple marijuana possession
and now have criminal records.  This is unnacceptable to most Canadians.  A
recent Angus Reid Poll found over 50 percent of Canadians support
decriminalization of cannabis possession.

Our politicians have been promising for decades they would open a debate on
decriminalization.  Over 25 years ago, a royal commission recommended
decriminalization and education to replace the costly and ineffective legal
prosecution.  MPs have disregarded this recommendation ever since. 

Many Canadians have lost faith in Parliament and have turned to the courts
to challenge the laws constitutionally. In a recent case in London, R vs.
Clay, the Ontario Supreme Court justice said it should be up to the
legislature to change the laws and many Canadians would not object to such
There has never been a death directly related to the use of marijuana.  The
propaganda that it is a "gateway drug" has been effectively shot down.
People do not become insane from smoking cannabis. Marijuana use does not
lead to criminal activity, nor is there any evidence it is addictive.

It is time for politicians to debate this issue.  Now is the time for the
decriminalization of marijuana possession.

Chad Michael Burkhart