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April 2005
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Fabulous OpEd on Marijuana in NowToronto

And Marijuana For All by Alan Young.
Read the whole thing. Seriously. Print it out. Post it on a bulletin board. Email it to your friends.
Here are some excerpts, but the whole thing is worth reading and distributing.

From my perspective, the marijuana issue is a no-brainer. There are probably more Canadians who smoke pot than play hockey. People have been doing this for more than 10,000 years.

No one has ever died from pot, while a number of approved pharmaceuticals have been pulled off the market this year for causing cardiac arrest or suicidal ideation. Growing pot is perfectly safe, but our harsh, prohibitionist approach creates an unregulated black market in which there is little incentive to comply with safety code standards. …

I believe there are six incontrovertible reasons why we should put the tiresome marijuana debate to rest once and for all by truly giving Canadians the liberty to grow and use the marijuana plant for personal use, whether recreational or medical.

First, it is a plant. Criminal law should be reserved for serious predatory conduct, and only in the world of science-fiction can a plant become a predator.

Second, since the 1894 Indian Hemp Commission, virtually every royal commission and governmental committee, internationally and in Canada, has recommended that marijuana use be decriminalized. Some have even called for outright legalization. It is an affront to democracy to continuously spend taxpayers’ money on comprehensive and informed reports that are ignored for no apparent reason.

Third, most of Europe and Australia have decriminalized marijuana use, and the liberalization of the law in these countries has not wreaked social havoc. In fact, consumption rates in decriminalized jurisdictions are significantly lower than in the penal colonies of Canada and the United States.

Fourth, the use of marijuana poses few societal dangers. It is not a criminogenic substance. …

Fifth, marijuana is relatively harmless for the user. …

Democracy is an illusion when the state can maintain a criminal prohibition on an activity enjoyed by 3 million Canadians and tolerated by an overwhelming majority. …

Studies show that 40,000 Americans injure themselves on their toilet seats every year, and 100,000 are injured by their clothing annually, yet no one has tried to demonize Sir Thomas Crapper or outlaw zippers. …

Prohibitionists should be ashamed of themselves for spreading lies and hiding the fact that many of them have secretly partaken of the plant. We are at an impasse because the government is simultaneously trying to demonize and decriminalize. And those in power know that if you suck and blow at the same time, nothing will happen on the path to law reform.

Great article (and thanks again, Scott).

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