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Political Madness Infects Marijuana Debate

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When it comes to marijuana laws, governments on both sides of the
border blow more smoke than an Okanagan forest fire.

The House of Commons, the White House, the U.S. Congress -- it really
doesn't matter. Marijuana laws are downright potty from the High
Arctic to the Mexican border.

If there is a Canadian alive today who understands the current state
of this nation's possession and medical pot laws, I'd like to meet him
or her.

Paralyzed by the to-and-fro dithering of Jean Chretien's Liberals,
alternately tossed, upheld and reworked by various courts across the
land, our marijuana laws make the tax code look simple.

It isn't any better in the United States, where the manic White House
continues to ignore state laws permitting medicinal pot. The feds
prefer to bust the sick.

This is what you get when supposedly advanced societies ignore the
failures and lessons of the past in favour of mindless pandering to
false fear.

The lesson of the past is prohibition, which didn't work for alcohol
and won't work for marijuana. The false fear is that pot is on a par
with heroin and cocaine, even though a B.C. Court of Appeal judge says
a joint is no worse than a martini.

White House drug czar John Walters is the worst of the fear-mongers,
launching yet another paranoid and uncivilized attack on Canada last

When Jean Chretien cracked a joke about trying pot in his retirement,
the decidedly humourless Walters went into ballistic-missile mode.

The man had the gall to tell Canadians that we're "ashamed" of
Chretien's joke, when it's actually George W. Bush's joke presidency
we're embarrassed by.

Just where does Walters get off claiming that Canada "is the only
country in this hemisphere that's become a major drug producer." He
should loosen his twisted knickers and have a good look in his own
back yard.

Pot production in America's national parks has increased to the point
where a U.S. House committee held hearings Friday in the Sierra Nevada
mountains to get a "ground-floor" understanding of the issue.

According to the Fresno Bee, more than 500,000 marijuana plants were
seized last year from California's national forests and Interior
Department property. In June, 40,000 opium poppies were discovered in
California's Sierra National Forest.

According to one congressional memo, "anecdotal evidence suggests
that, at best, federal law enforcement officials identify about
one-third to one-half of the marijuana cultivation sites."

California Rep. Devin Dunes put it in plainer language: "We've had
more drugs found on our public lands than on most other public lands
in the country."

And Walters wants to chew out Canada? On behalf of the nation, I'm
here to tell him we're ashamed of his bad behaviour.

Back home, it is thought that old pot possession laws are valid again
in the wake of a new Ontario court ruling. But the old law is to be
replaced by a new law decriminalizing possession of a small amount
originally set at 15 grams and now headed for 10 grams. Maybe.

If it makes it through the truncated fall session of Parliament, which
is unlikely.

Expect more hopeless time-wasting until pot is legalized, taxed and
sold like alcohol.

Pubdate: Sun, 12 Oct 2003
Source: Province, The (CN BC)
Webpage: http://www.mapinc.org/cancom/186C90E7-8969-4FCB-BF8B-6AB7F2225A8D
Copyright: 2003 The Province
Contact: provletters@png.canwest.com
Website: http://www.canada.com/vancouver/theprovince/