HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html Cracking Down on Marijuana is Dopey
Pubdate: Wed, 03 Apr 2002
Source: Ottawa Citizen (CN ON)
Copyright: 2002 The Ottawa Citizen
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Canada)


In the closing scene of The Untouchables, Eliot Ness (alias Kevin Costner) 
learns that after all the money spent, lives risked, and blood spilled in 
the war against bootleg alcohol, the government plans to rescind 
prohibition. His response: "I think I'll have a drink."

Marijuana, it seems, is Ottawa's version of forbidden hooch: Police say 
illegal pot-growing operations, run by organized crime, are sprouting all 
over the city. Illegal "grow houses," they imply, are out of control.

Before assuming a law-and-order crisis, let's remember that "grow houses" 
exist because people want marijuana, much as they wanted alcohol even 
during Prohibition. Demand for the Canadian weed is at an all-time high in 
the United States, Ottawa police say; we'll wager there's a solid market 
here, too.

Marijuana is a relatively banal drug. A study released yesterday by 
Carleton University psychologists found no lasting effects on intelligence 
even among heavy cannabis users. Even the Canadian Medical Association has 
suggested decriminalizing it.

Instead, police insist they need more powers to battle this apparent urban 
blight. They want to make others help, too: they are encouraging hydro 
companies, for instance, to cut customers' electricity on the mere 
suspicion that a house may harbour a pot-growing operation. We prefer to 
hope for the day when prohibition is lifted. This sort of policing is a 
real drag.
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