WHILE WE watch the federal government do flip-flops over the medicinal
marijuana issue, I wonder if the truth will ever be known. It has run the
gamut of excuses: from inferior quality of government-grown crop, to UN
conventions, to pressure from the U.S. government and the pharmaceutical
industry. The latest excuse is that there is not enough scientific evidence
and the "responsibility" of the government to ensure safety.

There are numerous studies already completed (as the Senate committee on
illegal drugs has already said), but apparently these are not satisfactory.
Why? Simple. The issue is not scientific evidence, as the government would
have us believe. There are many living examples if it is looking for proof.
This is just another delay in making a decision.

As for being "responsible" to ensure safety of the public/exemptees from an
already very safe natural substance (compared to pharmaceutical drugs),
this is absurd. If the government wanted to ensure safety for its citizens
and exemptees, it would allow distribution in a regulated and safe way,
unlike now - after waiting for the federal supply, being forced to spend
large amounts of money, incur stress and the uncertainty of quality/strain
of the "black market."

If the government really wanted to be responsible, it would ask for
direction from the people who live this every day of their lives. There is
a place for the government in the process, as well as doctors; but until
they can separate the political, the pharmaceutical and other interests to
find the real delay for this, we will continue to skirt this issue, leaving
those in need in a dizzying spin (add vertigo to the list of ailments).

As for the courts, the issue has already been decided in the Parker vs.
Regina decision, which gave the federal government one year (to July 31,
2001) to make access easier for people medically in need - which it has
failed miserably at. The decision says if the process is not made simpler,
prohibition will be struck down. To find a minister or judge with enough
courage to declare the law null and void seems unlikely. Instead, the
government prefers to prosecute people and Compassion Clubs to "protect
society." Although harm has never been proven, the government continues to
keep countless people and dollars focused on this bogus law.

I would welcome the opportunity to lend a hand in steering the course in
the right direction. All comments are welcome. I can be contacted at
902-497-3941 or at normlns@hotmail.com.

John Cook is director, Halifax Outlet, Cannabis Buyers Club of Canada.

Pubdate: Thu, 05 Sep 2002
Source: Halifax Herald (CN NS)
Copyright: 2002 The Halifax Herald Limited
Contact: letters@herald.ns.ca
Website: http://www.herald.ns.ca/
Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/180
Author: John Cook
Note: John Cook is director, Halifax Outlet, Cannabis Buyers Club of Canada.