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We Make Our Own Laws in Canada

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Source: Beacon Herald


The Americans are pointing the finger at us again. Most recently, we have been charged (and convicted) of being a sanctuary for terrorists, being an inadequate military ally and having loose- lipped prime minister’s assistants. But now as we move towards a more liberalized take on marijuana use, Canada has been called a threat to young Americans.


A report by the special parliamentary committee on the use of non-medical drugs released last week recommends decriminalizing the possession and cultivation of up to 30 grams of marijuana for personal use.


Possession would still be illegal but would not result in a criminal record. Instead it would be treated more like a traffic ticket with offenders paying a fine.


And Liberal Justice Minister Martin Cauchon agrees. He has promised to introduce legislation in the new year to decriminalize marijuana.


But President George W. Bush’s top general in the U.S. War on Drugs, John Walters, considers Canada’s move to decriminalize pot a serious threat south of the border.


At a press conference last week in Buffalo, N.Y., the director of the national drug policy said that while it is not his job to judge Canadian policy, it is his job to “protect Americans from dangerous threats, and right now Canada is a dangerous staging area for some of the most potent and dangerous marijuana at a time when marijuana is the single biggest source of dependency-production in the United States.”


“That’s a problem,” he added. “We have to make security at the border tougher because this is a dangerous threat to our young people and it makes the problem of patrolling the border more difficult.”


Our justice minister was unfazed by Mr. Walters’ remarks, saying that other countries have successfully moved toward decriminalization.


At the international meeting of the College on Problems of Drug Dependence in July, Mr. Walters preached on the evils of marijuana. He warned that pot is dangerous. And he had statistics to back up his assertions.


But health experts have discovered that marijuana is not particularly addictive. And as far as marijuana being dangerous, there is no evidence to show that it even comes close to the effects of our mainstream drugs — alcohol and tobacco — which kill many more thousands of people than marijuana.


Historically, prohibition of potentially harmful substances has proven to be ineffective, as was seen during the Prohibition era. And more importantly, such restrictions lead to organized crime and other criminal activity. Prohibition may cut the legitimate supply but does nothing to curb the demand.


In response to Mr. Walters’ concerns, we suggest that the American administration put more of its resources and mental energy into creating “a kinder, gentler nation,” as George Bush Sr. suggested (to no effect) when he was president. Perhaps, for a change, the U.S. should begin to look inward at its ever-widening gap between rich and poor, overt racism — especially towards black Americans — lack of social services like health care and paid parental leave and its treatment of those gripped by drug addiction, to name a few.


If Mr. Walters is worried about the movement of marijuana southward, perhaps Canadians should voice their concerns about the movement northward of illegal weapons. U.S. gun control, or more precisely the lack thereof, “threatens our young people and makes the patrolling of our border more difficult.”


The U.S. may be the most powerful nation on the planet, but the last time we checked Canada was still a sovereign nation.

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