HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html Paranoid American Drug Czar Should Butt Out
Pubdate: Sun, 15 Dec 2002
Source: Province, The (CN BC)
Copyright: 2002 The Province
Author: Jim McNulty


It's high time that ranting American drug czar John Walters canned his
insulting attacks on Canada and British Columbia.

The White House's man on a mission to expand America's hopelessly
failed war on drugs is trashing his northern neighbour in a most
paranoid way.

Paranoia, of course, is a staple of the "reefer-madness" culture that
believes marijuana causes evil on a satanic scale.

Walters is losing it as he high-dudgeons his way from microphone to
microphone, hammering Justice Minister Martin Cauchon's plan to
decriminalize pot in the new year.

"You know Vancouver's referred to as Vansterdam. Go up, go get
loaded," he prattled from Buffalo the other day.

I didn't know this, but apparently we are awash here in Lotusland with
stoned American tourists.

Walters fears lax attitudes "left over from the Cheech and Chong years
of the '60s." And the next decade: "Some people seem to be living with
the view of the reefer-madness '70s."

Wasn't it disco and Donna Summer that made folks crazy in the

Madness is clearly a hang-up for the guy, who cautions against falling
into the trap of "reefer-madness madness."

Some of us would argue that he's the poor fellow with the
reefer-madness madness. And he doesn't stop there.

Warning of even more crackdowns at the U.S. border for travelling
Canadians, Walters says, "Canada is a dangerous staging area" for
high-grade pot that has an insatiable market in America.

Dangerous staging area? What are we, Afghanistan? Iraq?

No. We're a benign, peace-loving, law-abiding country with a falling
crime rate that pales in comparison to the murder and mayhem in
America's big cities.

Less and less are we beholden to the White House view that marijuana
is on a par with weapons of mass destruction. Or that prohibition,
which worked so well against alcohol in the last century, is working
any better against pot.

In recent months, Canadians have received two major reports that
followed dozens of earlier reports suggesting a new approach to the
U.S. failure, which is copied by Canadian police. A Senate committee
recommended legalization of pot; a House committee called for
decriminalization that would remove possession of small amounts from
the Criminal Code in favour of a simple fine.

Cauchon says we're not ready for legalization, even though the Senate
report noted it is the only way to end pot crime that law agencies
battle -- as they lost to rum-runners in the old days.

The fact is that decriminalization won't make any real difference on
the street. The only way to do that is to legalize pot, as
Newfoundland Premier Roger Grimes suggests.

"Put an age limit on it and recognize there's some use of it out
there, make it safer, make some money from it."

As we did with alcohol a long time ago.

"What is critical," says United Church minister Bill Blaikie, "is that
we make the distinction between cannabis and other drugs, and our drug
war doesn't do that.

"If you keep lying to kids, they know the difference," says the NDP
leadership candidate. "We've got too many people going out there
telling kids, 'If you smoke marijuana, you'll end up on heroin.'"

Just like John Walters. Butt out, sir; your failed mission and
rhetoric is tiresome. 
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