Pot -- It's Not Just for Bohemians Any More

Pot -- It's Not Just for Bohemians Any More
Posted by CN Staff on November 25, 2004 at 10:00:26 PT
By Jane Armstrong 
Source: Globe and Mail
Like maple syrup and strong beer, marijuana is on track to be the new icon of the true north strong and free -- or at least a required weekend staple for many a frazzled Canadian.Pot use in Canada has doubled over the past decade, according to a new survey, prompting a fresh round of calls from activists to remove the illicit drug from the criminal-justice system.
The Canada Addiction Survey released yesterday shows that 14 per cent of respondents used cannabis in the past year, up from 7.4 per cent in 1994. And nearly one half of those surveyed -- 45 per cent -- had used pot at least once."I know a lot of these people, and they're leaders in society," said Marc Emery, president of the British Columbia Marijuana Party."They're artists and journalists and classical musicians. They're smoking pot. I've smoked with them. It's a huge chunk of the population."The new study, considered the most comprehensive addictions survey yet, shows that other illicit drug use is increasing in Canada, as is alcohol consumption.Though marijuana activists used the study to bolster their arguments, health-care workers and law enforcers called the results troubling.Conservative justice critic Vic Toews blamed Liberal-government policies that condone drug use -- from supervised injection sites to the planned easing of marijuana laws -- for the rising drug-use rates."I am concerned that the government has not put forward a national strategy to deal with the whole issue of addictions," Mr. Toews said.The survey also indicates that pot is a drug of choice among the middle-aged and better-educated. The study said marijuana use increases with education, rising to 52 per cent for those with postsecondary education from 35 per cent among high-school dropouts.Marijuana activists said the survey shows pot use has morphed from a taboo pursuit to mainstream. They added that it means Canadians have rejected the law-and-order notion that users should be treated as criminals.Jody Pressman, executive director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, hopes the survey will prompt Ottawa to make good on its pledge to decriminalize possession of small amounts of the drug. The group plans to release a survey of its own today in Ottawa."Millions of people [in Canada] have used pot, and they're not criminals, and it's time politicians faced the fact that use is so widespread," Mr. Pressman said.The organization wants marijuana regulated the same way as alcohol and tobacco are.Meanwhile, as Canadians grow more lax in their attitudes about pot, Americans remain leery about liberalizing marijuana laws, according to an Ipsos-Reid poll conducted for The Globe and Mail and CTV.The pollsters, who interviewed 1,000 Canadians and 1,000 Americans, asked respondents whether they agreed with Canada's plan to eliminate criminal penalties for the possession of marijuana.Among Canadians asked, 51 per cent said they agreed, with 33 per cent opposed.In the United States, by contrast, 36 per cent said the plan was a sound idea while 39 per cent said it was a bad one.The Ipsos-Reid poll was conducted from Nov. 10 to Nov. 22. The margin of error in both countries is 3.1 percentage points.University of British Columbia political scientist Michael Byers said the poll reflects a widening chasm between Canadians and Americans on social issues, a gap he predicted will increase with the recent re-election of President George W. Bush, who is to visit Canada next week."He was elected because of the mobilization of the American right," Prof. Byers said."The thinking is quite formidably different from the majority of Canadians."In Canada, the survey prompted alarm among health professionals, who warned that pot is a mind-altering, potentially dangerous drug, despite its new mainstream status."Cannabis in not harmless," said David Marsh, an addictions specialist with the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority."Many people seem to use cannabis a few times and stop. But among the group who've used it in the last year, there's a group who are using it quite frequently and having difficulties associated with that."Dr. Marsh said one-third of the people who said they used pot in the past year reported problems controlling it.The addiction study says men were more likely than women to have used the drug, and young people had a higher rate of use than older Canadians.About 269,000 Canadians said they had used an injection drug in the past year, up from 132,000 in 1994.The study was sponsored by Health Canada, the Canadian Executive Council on Addictions and the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse. Note: Marijuana use has doubled over the past 10 years, a survey says, and it's climbing the social ladder, Jane Armstrong writes.Source: Globe and Mail (Canada) Author: Jane Armstrong with a report from Canadian PressPublished: Thursday, November 25, 2004 - Page A3 Copyright: 2004 The Globe and Mail CompanyContact: letters globeandmail.caWebsite: Articles & Web Sites:NORML Canada News Canadian Links Use Doubles: Study Finds Pot Puffing Rate Doubled -- Canada Archives 
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Comment #5 posted by rchandar on November 25, 2004 at 15:23:16 PT:
but they're not listening!
It's not enough to smile at the confidence of the people.They're just not listening! They still think that the "international treaties" preclude them from doing anything for real! These politicians just need to be taught--that injustice causes suffering, that it ruins lives, regardless of what type of penalty is inflicted. The whole allegiance to "treaties" must go! It's time for sovereign governments to TAKE RESPONSIBILITY for their countries! The UN isn't doing anything for the world, drop 'em!  The problem is just this. Politicians are trained lawyers, penisless morons who think they can't do anything for real. They're a bunch of cocks %kers who pretend that human action isn't possible. This kind of useless posture of weakness must be ended.--rchandar
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Comment #4 posted by mayan on November 25, 2004 at 12:21:15 PT
Here's Another...
Pot laws out of touch, says lobby group:
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Comment #3 posted by The GCW on November 25, 2004 at 11:25:04 PT
When worded right... Americans would poll the same
Not only Bohemians...Also, OBEDIENT CHRISTIANS, (again) use cannabis / kaneh bosm.Psalm 50:14, "Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving And pay your vows to the Most High; (Thank Christ God Our Father for cannabis if You use it.)Psalm 50:23, "He who offers a sacrifice of thanksgiving honors Me; And to him who orders his way aright I shall show the salvation of God." (A thankful cannabis user will be shown the salvation of God; a cannabis prohibitionist will not.)1 Timothy 4:4, "For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be refected if it is received with gratitude (THANKSGIVING);"Thank God for all Our blessings, including cannabis.
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on November 25, 2004 at 11:01:56 PT
Related Article from
Most Canadians Support Taxing Pot, Poll News StaffNovember 25, 2004Hot on the heels of a national report that the number of Canadians who smoke pot has doubled in a decade, marijuana advocates say their own polls shows strong support for taxing the drug.Results of a poll released by the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) on Thursday, show significant support for regulating the illicit weed.According to the poll results, 53 per cent of Canadians said they support government regulation, compared to 37 per cent who are opposed.Citing the billions of dollars Ottawa could generate by taxing sales of the drug, NORML says most Canadians consider police enforcement of pot laws a waste of money.When asked about the $400 million Canada dedicates to marijuana enforcement each year, 55 per cent of respondents said that was a poor use of funds.Only 22 per cent said it was a good use of policing resources.And on the question of whether possession of small amounts of pot warrants a criminal record, almost three out of every five Canadians said no. Less than one in ten said criminal charges are warranted."The results show Canadians feel the government is going in the wrong direction," NORML Canada's Executive Director Jody Pressman said in a statement. "The people are way ahead of government on this issue because they understand prohibition isn't working now and it never will."Parliament is currently studying a bill to decriminalize marijuana.Conducted by SES Research between Oct. 26 and Nov. 1, the poll results are based on telephone interviews with a random sample of 1,000 Canadians. It is said to be accurate to within 3.1 percentage points 19 times out of 20.Copyright: 2004 Bell Globemedia Inc.
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Comment #1 posted by rchandar on November 25, 2004 at 10:17:13 PT:
forgive me,...
...but I just don't see what the big deal really is. If you're talking about Canada being a cannabis mecca, I understand. But even the proposed law--and that's what it still is, a proposal, doesn't go nearly far enough. Across the world, "decriminalization" is being touted, but very few countries have been going farther than that. I guess the one exception is long as laws are dependent on the use rate, decriminalization is probably as far as we will get. If it does become a civil/human rights issue, we can go much farther.--rchandar
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