HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html Canadians Love Their Pot
Pubdate: Fri, 13 Dec 2002
Source: Thunder Bay Post (CN ON)
Copyright: 2002 Thunder Bay Post


A House of Commons committee has recommended Canadians rethink the way
they look at marijuana, and has indicated it would like to see
possession of 30 grams or less of the narcotic decriminalized. In
effect it will be treated like a traffic offense, with those caught
within the boundaries handed a ticket instead of a criminal record and
the baggage that goes along with one.

Of course there will be a huge uproar across the country as people
leap to their feet - well, at least those not under the influence - to
demand the government not go along with the findings, but it's time to
face reality. Canadian love their pot. It's plain to see that users
will continue to use regardless of which side of the law they have to
tread, so why fight a losing battle?

The recommendation of the House of Commons committee doesn't mean pot
will suddenly become legal and sold in Twinkie combo deals at the
neighbourhood coffee shop, it just means those who do choose to inhale
will not have to worry about a lifelong criminal record should they
get caught. It will also save the taxpayers of this country a
tremendous amount of money.

According to the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse, more than 2,000
Canadians go to jail each year for cannabis possession. They estimate
it costs about $150 a day to house each offender, or $300,000 a year.
The vast majority of these people don't belong in prison. Nor does the
threat of a criminal record keep them from having a toke once they
have been through the justice system. The same report estimates as
many as 92 per cent of all Canadians found guilty of cannabis
possession were still using the drug a year later. It also estimates
about one per cent of all users are even detected by law enforcement
officials each year.

Unless they are driving under the influence, most pot smokers are no
more harmful than a bunny rabbit in a petting zoo.

Why subject them to a lifetime of exclusion because they've done what
more than half the country has tried at some point in their lives.

On the other hand, the government, should they adopt the
recommendations of the committee, should not wipe clean the record of
those convicted of possession in the past, which has been called for
by some members of parliament. Breaking the law is never right,
regardless of what your opinion is of that law. 
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