Suburbanizing Organized Crime

Suburbanizing Organized Crime
Posted by CN Staff on November 01, 2003 at 09:30:42 PT
By Colby Cosh, National Post 
Source: National Post 
On Wednesday the Post revealed some remarkable facts taken from a confidential RCMP intelligence report on household marijuana factories ("grow-ops"). It seems the pot business is now "epidemic" in suburbs in Quebec, Ontario, and British Columbia; the annual Canadian marijuana harvest is estimated to be on the order of 800,000 kilograms. Dan McTeague, a Liberal MP uncomfortable with his government's progress toward decriminalizing marijuana possession, offered an interesting response to the report. "The issue of decriminalization has obscured the real problem here," says Mr. McTeague. "We seem to have lost sight of the profound implications for public security that stems from marijuana grow operations."
Heh. Dude, check it out -- he said "stems."Mr. McTeague certainly has a point. In British Columbia particularly, the prevalence of grow-ops has brought violent crimes normally associated with the inner city to more affluent suburbs. More and more often, owners of $300,000 houses are awakening to the clanging sounds of a machete fight next door. Home invasions and ordinary burglaries, the cops say, are increasing. It is typical for a "grow-op" to steal electricity from neighbours so as to disguise the heavy spike in energy usage which such an operation entails, and which would normally attract immediate police attention.All this does have implications for the security of people who might have thought they were too rich to have to live alongside bikers and gangsters. And it's happening for one reason: Marijuana is illegal. The business is controlled by organized crime, and provides its foot-soldiers with a livelihood, only because Imperial Tobacco isn't allowed to take it over. Grow-ops are found in suburban houses only because it is unwise to grow marijuana in the open. And violence follows grow-ops around only because pot growers can't call the cops when someone is trying to rip them off. Legalize the mass production of marijuana tomorrow, and the "security" issue would evaporate. No one who refuses to acknowledge that we are suburbanizing organized crime to attain some unknown reduction in marijuana use should be considered a reasonable participant in discussions about drug law. Snipped: Complete Article: Source: National Post (Canada)Author: Colby Cosh, National Post Published: Friday, October 31, 2003Copyright: 2003 Southam Inc.Contact letters nationalpost.comWebsite: Articles & Web Site:Cannabis News Canadian Links Grows as Marijuana Profits Rise Pot Laws Lure Criminals To Canada
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Comment #19 posted by jose melendez on November 03, 2003 at 05:44:05 PT
asa = hemp = chanvre 
from: (Noun) - hemp
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Comment #18 posted by ekim on November 03, 2003 at 05:19:00 PT
a little translation
4th Hemp and Eco-Technologies Exhibition November 7 - 9 • Paris, France YES. I don't know what "chanvre" means, but I can summarize the blurb below. From the context, chanvre must be pot, although they also use the term cannabis, spellled just like in Englsh. In English, you could have written this, because it's the same theme we have in the u.s.
 Saturday august 11. a debate from 4 Pm to 7 pm. Cannabis and public liberties: re-establishing the right. (as in having rights, not right-wing)
 We'll be looking at cannabis as medicine, legal in Holland, tomorrow in France/ Finally can we transition from an underground economy to a regulated one. the probelems at the bottom of decriminaliztion are not yet resolved. We'll put that into the debate.
 Sunday we'll expose the concept of harm reduction (reduction des risques) tied to cannabis consumption. We'll talk about minimizing the social and hygienic costs of cannabis consumption  and we'll take up the issue of the black market. we'll talk about the advantage of self-growing and self-medication. Millions of consumers of cannabis must "maitriser" (this is key to the meaning. maybe we can figure from context)  risk behaviors tied to recreational cannabis use. We want to contribute to help them. (I would say "maitriser" means "improve.")
 Chanvre and eco-technologies: we will present the ecological benefits of chanvre production, and how ecologically sound it is. Those who want to preserve the environment should know how humanity can benefit from chanvre production and a less polluted society. We will inform the citizens.
     This is from one page, anyway.
Samedi 8.11 03, un débat de 16h à 19h : 
« Cannabis et libertés publiques : rétablir le droit » Nous tenterons de déterminer les adaptations nécessaires du dispositif législatif et préventif à l’évolution des mœurs. Puis nous aborderons un thème d’actualité, cannabis et médecine : légal en Hollande, demain en France ? Enfin, peut-on passer d’une économie souterraine à un marché réglementé ? Au moment où s’affrontent des positions plus ou moins réalistes sur la contraventionnalisation du simple usage, les problèmes de fond posés par ces lois d’exception ne sont toujours pas résolus. N’esquivons pas le débat.Participants (sous réserve) : Laurent Appel (Modérateur), Patrick Beauverie (Pharmacologue), Malek Boutih (Conseil National P.S), Francis Caballero (Avocat), Jean-Pierre Galland (Ecrivain), Sonny Perseil (Universitaire) et d’autres invités à confirmer.Dimanche 9.11.03, une conférence de 14h à 15h45: 
« La réduction des risques liés à la consommation de cannabis ».Nous exposerons le concept général de réduction des risques, les nuisances sanitaires et sociales auxquelles sont potentiellement exposés les usagers, les conseils et les méthodes pour minimiser les dommages, les précautions à prendre face aux produits du marché noir, les avantages et les risques de l’autoproduction, l’automédication au chanvre. Des millions de consommateurs doivent maîtriser les comportements à risque liés à l’usage récréatif du chanvre. Contribuons à les aider.
Une série de spécialistes interviendront pour développer un de ces aspects et répondre aux questions du public. Participants (sous réserve) : Laurent Appel (Modérateur), Anne Coppel (sociologue), Dr Geidel (Médecin), Mila Jansen(After the Harvest), Claude Rey (Alphemp), Markus Storz (Storz & Bickel) et d’autres invités à confirmer.Une autre conférence de 16h45 à 18h45 :
« Chanvre et éco-technologies ».Nous présenterons les principes généraux de l’écologie et du développement durable, l’éco-bilan très positif du chanvre, ses différentes filières et plus particulièrement l’agro-industriel et l’éco-construction, la Cannatrade et l’essor mondial du chanvre. L’humanité doit rapidement choisir entre productivisme et respect de l’environnement, le chanvre peut aider à reconvertir notre agriculture et notre industrie pour une société moins polluée. Informons les citoyens.Participants (sous réserve) : Laurent Appel (Modérateur), Ben Dronkers (Hempflax), Alejandro Gilcardona (ethnobotaniste), Marco Khun (Cannatrade), Christophe Latouche (Chanvrier), André Ravachol (Plasticana).
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Comment #17 posted by i420 on November 03, 2003 at 05:07:56 PT
Marc Emery on tv!
Just happened to catch Marc Emery on Tech TV's series Cybercrime. Wasn't too bad at least he was able to spread the word a little. Hope it gets posted on pot-tv soon!
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Comment #16 posted by jose melendez on November 03, 2003 at 01:55:40 PT
Had Enough
here's some info, from: bear some three quarters of a million arrests for marijuana each year in the United States and about 135,000 persons are currently in prison after being convicted of either a state felony or federal marijuana offense. This is a costly exercise at more than $7 billion per year. At the time of this writing, US states are reporting a combined $40 billion shortfall: "Saying states face the most dire fiscal situation since World War II, the National Governors Association(8a) and the National Association of State Budget Officers released a report(8b) today that concludes many states have exhausted budget cuts and drawing down rainy-day funds and that the most difficult decisions still lay ahead."  And in light of information from the Rand Corporation a week later, which shows beyond reasonable doubt that the already discredited "gateway theory" of marijuana use leading to heroin or cocaine use is simply not likely.  "Marijuana use among adolescents does not appear to act as a "gateway" leading to the use of harder drugs such as cocaine and heroin.(8c)"  It's clear that at such an enormous cost, there is some value to be gained by considering the wisdom of jailing tens of thousands of Americans for no other reason than possession of a plant that is currently considered politically incorrect. Just as this report was going into public press another report has come out again decimating the "gateway theory." This one from Britain's Home Office said: "The analysis, based on recent survey data on nearly 4,000 children and young adults, finds:No significant impact of soft drug use on the risk of later involvement with crack and heroin. Very little impact of soft drug use on the risk of later involvement in crime.(8d)"  (8a),1169,C_PRESS_RELEASE^D_4693,00.html 
 "State Budget Outlook Remains Bleak" November 25th, 2002. National Governors Association.  (8b) 
 "The Fiscal Survey of States." November 2002 National Governors Association & National Association of State Budget Officers. (8c) 
 "All the evidence used to support the gateway effect can be accounted for by chance using a model that has no gateway effect..." (8d) 
 "The road to ruin? Sequences of initiation into drug use and offending by young people in Britain" December 2002. Home Office Research Study 253. Without the so-called "gateway theory" the underpinnings of all these arrests become suspect. It is time to revisit some basic assumptions about where resources are actually being spent that could be better brought to bear on hard drug use, such as tobacco, heroin and cocaine as well as alcohol. It's time to admit that current legal distinctions between drugs in the US do not equal a given drugs pharmacology or possible risk from harm. New strategies must be considered. New to us anyway. Dutch "coffee shops," quite successfully and happily, just passed their thirtieth anniversary. The Ottawa Citizen in a story on December 19th, reported "Quebec court Judge Gilles Cadieux, who had postponed making a decision on the case about 10 times, said the absence of a legal source of marijuana takes away the right to life and liberty for those who need it.(8e)"  In this closely watched medical marijuana case in Canada, "Marc-Boris Saint-Maurice, director of the Compassion Club, and Alexandre Neron, who worked at the club, were accused of possession of marijuana and trafficking the drug." Saint-Maurice also leader of the Marijuana Party in Canada promptly opened a Website offering medical marijuana for sale, $30 for two grams and $120 for 10 grams of marijuana said to be at least 8% THC, the most demonized active ingredient in marijuana. (Which is also quite legal in the United States as Marinol.)  This kind of pressure will surely be acutely felt in the US. Indeed the issue has been brought to a boil in Santa Cruz, California where federal authorities reportedly handcuffed a paraplegic to a bed in a medical marijuana case that sparked nationwide outrage. From the WAMM Website: "A hearing has been set for the Motion to Return Property filed shortly after the DEA raid on Wo/Men’s Alliance for Marijuana (WAMM), a Santa Cruz based medical marijuana cooperative. The motion requests the return of all personal property including 137 medical marijuana plants taken in a DEA raid in early September from the 238 patient collective garden. The raid touched off protests at federal buildings around the San Francisco Bay area.  Attorney Ben Rice emphasized this will be the first case heard after a 9th Circuit Court of Appeals unanimous decision earlier this week in the Conant v. Walters case in which Valerie Correl, Director of WAMM, is a plaintiff. The decision emphasized the government cannot revoke the licenses of California doctors who recommend medical marijuana to their patients. It also states "Medical marijuana, when grown locally for personal consumption, does not have any direct or obvious effect on interstate commerce.(8f)""  (8e) 
 "Quebec judge halts trial of two men accused of handing out medicinal pot" December 19th, 2002. Ottawa Citizen. (8f) 
 "Motion to Sue Federal Government. First hearing set for Nov. 4th 2002" September-November 2002. Wo/Men's Alliance for Medical Marijuana. WAMM.  The huge human toll and financial cost of marijuana prohibition in the United States needs to be weighed against a legal and well regulated market. A good "litmus test" for politicians considering drug policy should be to ask themselves two questions: "Can a twelve year old anywhere in the US belly up to the bar and be served a shot of whiskey?" And "What policy best helps prevent minors from access to alcohol: Prohibition or well crafted regulation?" States are facing huge budget deficits from the huge drain prison spending has become. As shown in this BBSNews report, Punitive marijuana prohibition has resulted in hundreds of thousands of arrests each year, half of all drug arrests. And states are feeling the pressure of warehousing non-violent offendors serving mandatory minimum sentences. What is especially troubling is the fact that arsonists and other criminals that may really pose a threat to their communities are being released as well as non-violent drug prisoners. The New York Times reported on December 18th, 2002: "Montana, Arkansas and Texas, along with Kentucky, have discovered loopholes that allow them to release convicted felons early, getting around the strict truth-in-sentencing laws and no parole policies passed in the 1990's that were supposed to prevent such releases.(8g)" We should not need "loopholes." Regulating the trade in marijuana would pay for itself in savings to cash strapped States budgets. And there would be tax revenue. Then the arsonists, robbers and those that perpetrate domestic violence would not have to be released early into society. (8g) 
 "Inmates Go Free to Help States Reduce Deficits" December 18th, 2002. New York Times.   
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Comment #15 posted by Had Enough on November 02, 2003 at 21:12:05 PT
Need Help
I need some information.How many people in the Uniform Crime Report were arrested by Federal Law Enforcement?I’m having an on going debate with a pro “Republican Administration can’t do no wrong” advocate. This person is hard core Republican. Their views or actions; anything they say or do is okay, as long as they are Republican. George Bush & Regan are idols of worship. Now you know what I am up against. By the way, I like the debate with this person, although I wish this topic did not have to be debated.I threw out statistics from the Uniform Crime Report, and asked if this followed true conservative actions and views. I was asked how many of the people arrested for marijuana violations, were arrested by the Feds. I relied to this individual, “that is a good question and I would try to find out”, and “613,986 arrests for possession alone is indefensible, regardless of how many the Feds got”. Then reminded this person of Federal law, and how easy the situation could be changed with the stroke of a pen, but it has not been done yet. Then I asked WHY hasn’t this been done (food for thought).Did some looking at various sites and did not find the info.Would appreciate any help.Go Vote! WE THE PEOPLE demand this.
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Comment #14 posted by mamawillie on November 02, 2003 at 13:19:02 PT
Oh, forgot nemo
I see your point totally about me as a criminal because I am breaking the law, and therefore my upper-class exclusive neighbors are living next to a criminal. :)Moral relativity on my part...? lolI've enjoyed the banter...
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Comment #13 posted by mamawillie on November 02, 2003 at 13:14:50 PT
Nemo, yes, I see the spirit of the article
But I feel sometimes that if we want to legitimize the uses of marijuana, then we need to legitimize the way the media reports it.Like, for instance, High Times magazine has huge ads for "Blow", an X-rated pay per call service. I want to point out to them that if they want to work toward legalization to make Mj available to all, then stop treating the magazine and its readers as drunk frat boys.Sure, the ones with the money have the power. And the ones with the power can make things happen. So why not try and scare them by telling frightening stories of getting ripped off by their seemingly polite neighbors, or suddenly transitioning to hearing the ways of violence in their own neighborhoods?? Surely this would drive home the point to them that had MJ been legal, the black market would have collapsed on itself. Legalizing MJ is the prevention of this happening...But what if you were one of these rich-and-have-power people who were never stoners... might this article make you reinforced in your idea that stoners need to be punished to the maximum for being so derilict?It is a huge gamble based on a fallacy...reckelss in my opinion.mama
Oh, I forgot that I have actually participated in the black market since I have purchased seeds...
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Comment #12 posted by kaptinemo on November 02, 2003 at 13:02:40 PT:
Wamawillie, I concur on the conflation bit
But I wouldn't totally damn the author for a lack of breadth of vision. True, the author is limiting the sources of information to the 'juiciest' parts of a (publicly unavailable) government study (which makes it automatically suspect in my book) which *purports* to show an inroad of organized crime into suburbs. Purely for shock value.However, the fact remains that in the eyes of the law, ANY indoor grow activity is by its' nature, 'criminal', no matter who the beneficiaries might be. And I suspect that that is exactly how any policeman who would be dispatched to your house would treat it. Granted, the author made a cheap conflation for the point of illustration. But the vast majority of the readers, if they are not intimately involved, will get the tone of the article and probably disregard the rest.I don't like it any more than any one of us when someone who writes about cannabis users makes this kind of error. I'd give a lot to see the kind of articles Dan Gardner or Dan Forbes was writing, skewering the false assumptions that trail along behind most 'news' articles on cannabis like VD-afflicted camp followers behind a medieval army. But this article manages to act as a wake up call for those for whom the issue was something that happens to other people. If it gets one complacent, self-satisfied or clueless individual who never cared about the issue to give the matter some thought, then it might be worth the gaffes the author made. 
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Comment #11 posted by ekim on November 02, 2003 at 09:13:41 PT
festival-du-chanvre what does this fest display
4th Hemp and Eco-Technologies Exhibition
November 7 - 9 • Paris, France
http://www.festival-du-chanvre.comDrug Policy Alliance Bi-Annual International Conference
Description: LEAP Board of Directors join with over 1000 other drug policy reform activists at the Meadowlands Sheratron for 3 days of discussions. 
Date: Wednesday, November 5, 2003 
Time: 5:00pm 
Participants: Calendar Administrator
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Comment #10 posted by 420eh on November 02, 2003 at 08:32:40 PT
john t: cannabis is illegal once again in canada do to a recent court ruling in ontario. so things are like they were for years. presently we are awaiting the supreme court ruling that should be coming out soon (nov-dec). the challenge was heard on may 6 which covers recreation use. 
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Comment #9 posted by goneposthole on November 02, 2003 at 08:22:25 PT
a good investment
eight hundred thousand kilos times five thousand dollars per kilo is four billion dollars. Fifteen percent of four billion dollars is 600 million dollars, all for the government. If the price falls by a factor of ten, it is still sixty million dollars for the government. Each and every year. After one hundred years of tax collections on the cannabis trade, you are going to begin to realize a positive cash flow, don't cha think?You would also have hemp oil, hemp fabrics, hemp dimension lumber, hemp paper, hemp rope, hemp seeds. I believe the list continues for many thousands of uses. All with a profitable outcome. From the prime example itself, recreational and medical cannabis shows a promising return for your efforts; time and money well spent. The medical benefits don't measure in dollars and profits. How can you argue with that? I don't argue with success. 
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Comment #8 posted by John Tyler on November 02, 2003 at 07:09:49 PT
On Canada
I was reading that the Prime Minister in Canada has not yet gotten his re-criminialization of cannabis bill through Parliment yet and the session will be ending soon. So, the question is... what is the legal status of cannabis in Canada? Legal, or the same as it was before the court ruling. Does anyone know?
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Comment #7 posted by John Tyler on November 02, 2003 at 06:29:48 PT
Canadians like cannabis
From reading this article it seems that an whole lot of Canadians want to have access to cannabis. They are growing their own for medical reasons, and for fun and profit. No amount of laws is going to change that. The political class had better adjust their attitude and accept this fact or they may find themselves unemployed in the future. 
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Comment #6 posted by mamawillie on November 02, 2003 at 06:11:53 PT
Here's my point illustrated
The author says,"All this does have implications for the security of people who might have thought they were too rich to have to live alongside bikers and gangsters."Show me proof! I do a secret indoor grow and I am neither a biker nor a ganster. Here's another one, "And violence follows grow-ops around only because pot growers can't call the cops when someone is trying to rip them off."I want to see facts.In my opinion, this article does NOTHING for the cause!
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Comment #5 posted by mamawillie on November 02, 2003 at 06:05:15 PT
Well, of course in any article about marijuana, the press is going to focus on 2 issues: the prohibition and the crime caused by the prohibition.The original statement was "On Wednesday the Post revealed some remarkable facts taken from a confidential RCMP intelligence report on household marijuana factories ("grow-ops"). It seems the pot business is now "epidemic" in suburbs in Quebec, Ontario, and British Columbia; the annual Canadian marijuana harvest is estimated to be on the order of 800,000 kilograms."There was no original statement there about crime in the suburbs. The author offers up NO statictics on the crime, he only tells of generic hearsay.I'm personally aggravated BECAUSE I am upper class and growing in my house in my *exclusive* neighborhood. I don't steal electricity from my neighbors because I don't need to because my grow is small because I am growing for personal medicinal reasons and NOT because *I* am part of the black market.Yes, prohibition causes crime. But the author is irresponsible by taking a fact that there are more household grows in Ontario and then extrapolating that to mean the hood and their gangstas have infiltrated surburbs. This begets 2 points: 1) surburban grows are part of the black market (a fallacy) and 2)ganstas who are cash croppers make so much money they can afford to move to the suburbs (circular reasoning).It is irresponsible journalism to take 1 topic (indoor grows) with facts and then turn it into an argument that the black market is threatening suburbs. The two subjects do NOT need to be interrelated, nor should they be.Wouldn't it have been a much better article to eliminate the talk of prohibition and talk about how these assumingly well-educated, corporate suits are growing personal grows in their expensive houses, THUS avoiding and perhaps working to collapse the black market.I dare charge that the assertion that there is crime in the nice surburban neighborhoods because of secret indoor grows is an outright lie. I am especially suspicious since the author offers no proof of those claims.
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Comment #4 posted by kaptinemo on November 02, 2003 at 04:42:02 PT:
Mamawillie, I've got one objection...
In the main, the article gets right to the point, the same point the antis have been dancing around and never touching for decades.Antis count on someone never bringing up the fact that illegality spurs the trade, not the drug itself. Being a weed, having the proclivities of a weed, it would be literally dirt cheap to produce legally, and the smarter antis know it. They fear it. You don't need anywhere near the amount of effort to cultivate it as you do tobacco...nor do you use the kinds of chemicals containing radioactive polonium isotopes in it's manufacture - which is one of the causes of the cancers associated with tobacco use. All this indoor activity - such as power theft - would be eliminated rather quickly upon legalization.I needn't go into the whole mechanics of it. I'll just say that the author has distilled down a great deal of information, and put it squarely in front of the 'naive' (as in the oldest definition of the word 'ignorant'; simply lacking knowledge) public to show how simple-minded the anti propositions are.A biker grow op, if they aren't run by the terminally stupid, will use the old intell agency practice of 'cut-outs' to hide their activities behind respectable sounding companies and use individuals that can 'pass' as Mr. and Ms Middle Class. They won't show up at the rental office wearing full biker regalia. If they are REALLY smart, they'll use equally respectable looking individuals to make supply runs and handle security. really don't know who is the grower for the HA's or not. This article makes that very scary realization come home to the reader. As it should. Because some gangs, like the Union Corse, don't have the 'scruples' the Mafia does; they'll wipe out entire families, and care not one whit for any 'collateral damage' that ensues. All the more reason to legalize it before any more innocents and bullets intersect.
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Comment #3 posted by Adam1 on November 01, 2003 at 15:07:23 PT:
Time to send these articles to politicians
I have sent letters to members of parliament, such as Randy White and other other drug war zealots, in Canada as well as the U.S., in an attempt to have him see that the real crime here is prohibition; for without prohibition there would be no drug related violence and murder. I get no response which tells me that they are really not to concerned with stopping drug related violence. I have a hard time thinking that anyone could find these acts acceptable, but I know there is money to be made, via tax payers, in the paramilitary industry which is responsible for the creation of more prisons and fewer rights for citizens. These industries are heavy lobbiests against the relaxation of drug laws and "donate" a lot of money th those who support their interests. Aren't Canadas taxes high enough? I know they are higher than American taxes, which in my opinion are through the roof, unless you're extremely wealthy. Speaking as an American(one who is governmentally oppressed), I urge Canadians not to consume too much "Couchlock" and to, rather than become a part of the heard, rise up and make your voices heard to those who are intent on pushing their personal views into your private lives. Viva la Resistance! And to my fellow Americans this applies to you as well. If you want to lose the rights you have and be limited to those few rights, then sit and do nothing. If, however, you wish for a better life and to have more, I implore you to write to your members of congress and tell them you will not stand for being labeled as a terrorist for your anti-cannabis prohibition beliefs. Let these representatives know that they are working for you and that you will not tolerate being ignored. Far to often marijuana smokers take the position, "If it is meant to be then it will be". This is true, but, it will likely never come to fruition if you do not play your part in making yourself heard. People who grow and sell herb are already taking a huge risk and fear that they will be red-flagging themselves if they become too active. Due to cannabis being illegal there is likely to be a sense of justified paranoia. At the very least vote!!! 18-25 year olds are those who are lease likely to vote. There are an awful lot of 18-25 year olds out there. With this population voting we can achieve wonders. The overall population that votes is extremely small. This is a perfect example of how the masses are controlled by a few. With your help this trend WILL cease. 
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Comment #2 posted by mamawillie on November 01, 2003 at 15:05:15 PT
Not real journalism...
I take issue with the notion that there are gansters living in 300K houses. I think there is a real problem with the article associating surburban grow ops with crime. Why not have the angle that is more correct? Many upper class people have decided to grow their own supply in their houses instead of supporting the black market? Now there's an article I'd like to read.
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Comment #1 posted by WolfgangWylde on November 01, 2003 at 10:36:32 PT
Leave it to Canada... remind me what real journalism looks like. If this had been a U.S. newspaper, the report would have just regurgitated the pablum spouted by the Prohibitionist politician as fact, and left it at that. Reporters questioning authority? Who would have thunk it.
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