Itís Time Marijuana Was Legalized 

††Itís Time Marijuana Was Legalized 

Posted by CN Staff on January 11, 2005 at 18:30:37 PT
By Edward Greenspan†
Source: North Bay Nugget†

Stockwell Day tried it. The former justice minister Martin Cauchon used it. I would bet that well over 50 per cent of the members of the House of Commons have tried it. The late Canadian icon Pierre Berton smoked it regularly for the last 45 years. He said it helped him to relax. Last October, Berton appeared on CBCís satire show, Rick Mercerís Monday Report, offering tips on how to roll it and actually recommended his book, The National Dream, as an excellent rolling surface.
He had been a recreational user since the 1960s, saying heíd reached a stage in his life where he didnít give a damn what he said or what people thought. Pierre Berton lived until his 84th year. He made Canadian history alive and exciting, most probably because of what he smoked for over half his life. And while he smoked it, he produced 15,000 words a day, including a 1,200-word daily column. Iím talking, of course, about marijuana, a.k.a. pot, grass, weed, Mary-Jane, reefer, Aunt Mary, Acapulco gold, kif, ganja, Maui wowie. There are more than 200 terms of endearment for marijuana. It is without a doubt, the most often used illegal drug in Canada and has been for decades. A recent federal government survey shows that the number of Canadians using pot has doubled over the last 10 years. It shows that most Canadians support the legalization of marijuana. Moses Znaimer has co-founded a research company to invent medicines made with marijuana. For many people, marijuana is the only thing that eases the pain. It helps cancer patients. It can stop seizures. In strict medical terms, marijuana is far safer than many foods we commonly eat. Cigarettes kill. Marijuana doesnít. And by the way, there is not a single study that says second-hand marijuana smoke causes cancer. On May 29, 1969, the federal government formed a Commission of Inquiry into the Non-Medical use of Drugs. It is commonly referred to as the LeDain Report. It was a huge undertaking and all relevant data and research written up to that time was studied. Public inquiries were held all across Canada. The real purpose of the study was to answer the question: ďWhy should cannabis be treated so harshly compared to tobacco and alcohol?Ē In the very early 1970s we got our answer. The LeDain Commission told Canada it favoured the abolition of the crimes of simple possession and cultivation for personal use of pot. The commission found cannabis is not a narcotic, that no deaths due directly to smoking or eating cannabis have been documented, that there is no scientific evidence that cannabis itself is responsible for the commission of other forms of criminal behaviour and that physical dependence on cannabis has never been demonstrated. In other words, by the early 1970s, Canada knew that marijuana was not a ďdemon weed.Ē The report was met by a wall of silence. Our government completely ignored it. Instead, they appointed LeDain to the Federal Court of Appeal and then to the Supreme Court of Canada and never mentioned his name again. Why is it still taboo? Because the arguments against legalizing it unequivocally are based on hearsay, myth and ill-informed opinion about the effects of the drug. People express fear for our children. We have never left the age of Reefer Madness. As an example, very recently the Canadian Council of Chief Executives, which represents 150 major or multi-national corporations, stated that a federal bill to decriminalize pot could increase injuries, absenteeism and poor job performance and poor productivity. The council, which no doubt includes many who use alcohol, forgot that alcohol is legal, but I donít see drinking on the job as a national problem. The very few people who drink on the job tend to lose their jobs. As far as I can tell, Canadians like to work, like to make a salary and arenít going to jeopardize their jobs. Most people think that the anti-marijuana laws are stupid and are there to be ignored. In my view, the anti-marijuana laws create resentment and disrespect for law and law enforcement in general. We seem to be stuck in the Dark Ages. The anti-marijuana laws are immoral in principle and unworkable in fact. The comedian Bill Maher says the worst thing about marijuana is that it makes you eat cookie dough. In other words, it is harmless. Itís time, in fact itís way overdue, that pot be treated the same as alcohol and tobacco. Even if it isnít good for children, it is no argument to say the government, therefore, should take it away from adults. We donít do that with liquor. Why canít we just say, ďKids, this is not for you.Ē The state should leave adults alone to smoke pot. I donít use it. Never will. But I do love cookie dough. The law making potís possession or use illegal is dead wrong. Itís time to implement a system to regulate potís production, distribution and consumption. In other words, itís time for the government to get off the pot. Edward L. Greenspan, Q. C., is the senior partner of the Toronto law firm of Greenspan, White. Edward Greenspan is one of several Osprey Writer's Group columnists whose opinions appear Mondays in The Nugget. Comments can be sent to: writersgroup Source: North Bay Nugget (CN ON)Author: Edward Greenspan Published: Monday, January 10, 2005Copyright: 2005 North Bay NuggetContact: nugget nugget.caWebsite: Canada Archives

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Comment #17 posted by afterburner on January 19, 2005 at 08:23:38 PT
rchandar, Let's Put Coffeshops in Perspective
In one large Canadian city, we are nearly "half a million strong": 490,268 population. Doing a quick phone book and Internet search for pubs, taverns, beer & ale (including delivery services), liquor (including delivery services), wineries, wine & spirits, and licensed lounges (including restaurants), I found 103 unique businesses specializing in or providing alcohol. This is probably a conservative estimate of true availability. This city is awash in alcohol. The older generation is potentially "drunk as a skunk."A large Canadian city [population/known licensed alcohol outlets =490268/103] =	number served: 4759.883495; percent served:	0.0210%Netherlands [population/licensed coffeeshops =16296240/782 (before the decline) = number served: 20839.18159; percent served: 0.0048%
[0.0210%/0.0048% = 4.38 (rounded), 4.378086482 (actual) -- 20839.18159/ 4759.883495 = 4.378086482] The average coffeeshop in the Netherlands potentially serves more than 4 times as many customers per outlet as do the alcohol vendors in one large Canadian city. In other words there are more than 4 times as many outlets for alcohol per capita in one large Canadian city than there are coffeshops in "tolerant" Netherlands.BTW, there is only one coffeeshop in this large Canadian city and some people here complain that it is too many!	
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Comment #16 posted by rchandar on January 19, 2005 at 04:15:35 PT:
coffeeshops decline in number from 782 to 754
the report can be found at Apparently the number of coffeeshops in the Netherlands has declined from 782 shops to 754 shops between 2002 and 2003.I think it's time they allowed more shops to open; the licences are there, so why's that not happening? Seems like a plot of the CDA government to do away with the coffeeshops.--rchandar
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Comment #15 posted by afterburner on January 15, 2005 at 06:55:45 PT
The Father of Our Country, George Washington Said
ďIt is our true policy to steer clear of permanent alliances with any portion of the foreign world.Ē --George Washington in his Farewell Address was a wise military commander and a great statesman. If only people had followed or would follow his sage advice!A walk down memory lane (Can you believe this from a *Republican* from *Texas*?):Americaís Entangling Alliances in the Middle East by Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX)
April 12, 2002. "We were warned, and in the early years ..."
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Comment #14 posted by rchandar on January 15, 2005 at 05:33:16 PT:
the problem...
the problem goes like this--to get cannabis off the list of banned substances, all governments insist they would have to have it finalized with the United Nations. Now, the UN thinks its doing us a favor by keeping tobacco and alcohol legal, that this "is enough" for world society.personally I've never understood why "international treaties" preclude governments from legalizing cannabis--or doing anything, for that matter. if a sovereign government with the will of the people at hand wants something done, then by Jove they should be able to do it! It doesn't make sense: The UN doesn't preclude individual governments, individual governments make up the UN. But if it were to come to a vote at the UN, I guarantee we'd lose because of all those Third World countries still mad about colonialism and how whites er,"lived up" the drugs circuit at the expense of the locals. That's why all the Asian countries have these super-draconian laws: sorry to say, folks, but they don't like you--or, probably, me either.--rchandar
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Comment #13 posted by afterburner on January 13, 2005 at 04:29:30 PT
Turning Canada into a Soviet-Style Police State
Once upon a time, citizens of Canada and the US were shocked and disgusted that the USSR encouraged it's citizens to inform on each other, and even children to inform on their parents. The US-led Drug War has propagated the same type of anti-community action where neighbors cease to trust each other. Bear witness to the following example of police hysteria, which would be unnecessary if governments would just wise up and regulate and tax cannabis:Pot-spotters Earn $26,050 For Reporting Grow Houses [snipped]
Pot-spotters Earn $26,050 For Reporting Grow Houses [complete story]
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Comment #12 posted by b4daylight on January 12, 2005 at 20:51:13 PT
Gopogle reshapes opinons
I think google will kill the drug war. 
If nothing else it will tell us when the government tries to put public health in dnager for a political motive.
Talk about criminals. If only people would buy a computer and visit google........
 Google search "Cannabis report" I was looking for a report when I found this. Cannabis Report of the Swiss Federal Commission For Drug Issues (EKDF)  Stoned drivers are safe drivers (this is straight from are own government not once but several studies includes a collection of studies around the globe Thanks Marc!) New Zealand Should Regulate and Tax Cannabis Commerce
Final Report The Drug Policy Forum Trust 30 March 1998  Here you can browse the report which was ordered by the House of Lords to be printed 4 November 1998.  the Cannabis 2002 report. The last one needed a little research....
This is important because 
the Health Ministers of the Netherlands (Mrs Borst), Germany (Mrs Fischer, succeeded by Mrs Schmidt), Switzerland (Mrs Dreifuss) and Belgium (Mrs Aelvoet) took the initiative to organise a scientific conference on the subject of cannabis.
French joined late...The thing that came to light while they did not endorse it they could not critize it or find anything really wrong with Cannabis..... I recomned the last read it is really interseting. well 
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Comment #11 posted by JustGetnBy on January 12, 2005 at 10:53:01 PT
    HHHHHHMMMMMmmmmmm !
I don't know what it implies, but isn't it interesting that the Canadian govt. advanced LeDain to the supreme court.
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Comment #10 posted by afterburner on January 12, 2005 at 07:56:13 PT
Beyond The Le Dain Commission Report
For an update on recent developments in Canadian cannabis law reform, check the following link:Canadian Foundation for Drug Policy
Canadian Foundation for Drug Policy
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Comment #9 posted by afterburner on January 12, 2005 at 07:29:53 PT
The Right Question
ďWhy should cannabis be treated so harshly compared to tobacco and alcohol?Ē --[The Le Dain Commission Report] The Report of the Canadian Government Commission of Inquiry into the Non-Medical Use of Drugs - 1972ďIn other words, by the early 1970s, Canada knew that marijuana was not a 'demon weed.'Ē Wake up! Open your eyes. It's a new year, a new millennium. Let's get the true facts about cannabis and change the laws to be realistic and humane.Boycott Wal-Mart.
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Comment #8 posted by afterburner on January 12, 2005 at 07:09:39 PT
Thank you for your link reproduced below. With the US and Canadian and other governments obsessing over "grow-ops" and "impaired driving" to further demonize the cannabis community, links/lists like yours make a great quick reference for LTE's (letters to the editor) to set the record straight in the eyes of the public. We have previously shared many of these driving studies in the comments here at CNews, but your link ties it together nicely. It's in my Favorites/Bookmarks now for the next LTE!
Stoned drivers are safe drivers
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Comment #7 posted by FoM on January 11, 2005 at 23:00:05 PT
Thanks for understanding. Someday I won't have to worry when the laws are changed and we all can breath a little easier.
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Comment #6 posted by Telarus on January 11, 2005 at 22:56:28 PT
I can understand your views on CC. I check it every once in a while for interesting tidbits, and stuff linked to, but over all it seems a very corporate and comercialist site.
But still, a good article.Hail Eris!
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Comment #5 posted by FoM on January 11, 2005 at 22:14:48 PT

Welcome to Cannabis News. That is a good article. Thank you for posting it here for us to read. I haven't posted an article from CC for a long time. I worry about it being a for profit site with all that is happening down here in the states it concerned me quite a bit. I am being cautious because of the times. I hope you understand. 
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Comment #4 posted by Telarus on January 11, 2005 at 21:57:49 PT:

Stoned drivers are safe drivers
I've been lurking on here for months, really enjoy the discource, and all the support for the whole paradigm of change. I just read this article on CannabisCulture.Com and thought that somebody should throw it up on the homepage here, but found no links there to report a story (may have missed it). If a mod could to that, that'd be awesome.
Any comments would be apperieated as well, so what do you all think of this? I view it as a well collected list of _actual scientific studies_ (like our goverments pay attention to those anymore). I really would like to know how these studies escaped mainstream attention, but the little worm in the apple in my head coughs *cORporAte-mediawhores* *gough* *cough*.......}------------------------------------------------------{
Stoned drivers are safe drivers
by Dana Larsen (11 Jan, 2005)Two decades of research show that marijuana use may actually reduce driver accidents.The effects of marijuana use on driving performance have been extensively researched over the last 20 years. All major studies show that marijuana consumption has little or no effect on driving ability, and may actually reduce accidents. Here's a summary of the biggest studies into pot use and driving.A 1983 study by the US National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) concluded that the only significant affect of cannabis use was slower driving - arguably a positive effect of driving high.A comprehensive 1992 NHTSA study revealed that pot is rarely involved in driving accidents, except when combined with alcohol. The study concluded that "the THC-only drivers had an [accident] responsibility rate below that of the drug free drivers." This study was buried for six years and not released until 1998.A 1993 NHTSA study dosed Dutch drivers with THC and tested them on real Dutch roads. It concluded that THC caused no impairment except for a slight deficiency in the driver's ability to "maintain a steady lateral position on the road." This means that the THC-dosed drivers had a little trouble staying smack in the center of their lanes, but showed no other problems. The study noted that the effects of even high doses of THC were far less than that of alcohol or many prescription drugs. The study concluded that "THC's adverse effects on driving performance appear relatively small."A massive 1998 study by the University of Adelaide and Transport South Australia examined blood samples from drivers involved in 2,500 accidents. It found that drivers with only cannabis in their systems were slightly less likely to cause accidents than those without. Drivers with both marijuana and alcohol did have a high accident responsibility rate. The report concluded, "there was no indication that marijuana by itself was a cause of fatal accidents."In Canada, a 1999 University of Toronto meta-analysis of studies into pot and driving showed that drivers who consumed a moderate amount of pot typically refrained from passing cars and drove at a more consistent speed. The analysis also confirmed that marijuana taken alone does not increase a driver's risk of causing an accident.A major study done by the UK Transport Research Laboratory in 2000 found that drivers under the influence of cannabis were more cautious and less likely to drive dangerously. The study examined the effects of marijuana use on drivers through four weeks of tests on driving simulators. The study was commissioned specifically to show that marijuana was impairing, and the british government was embarrassed with the study's conclusion that "marijuana users drive more safely under the influence of cannabis."According to the Cannabis and Driving report, a comprehensive literature review published in 2000 by the UK Department of Transportation, "the majority of evidence suggests that cannabis use may result in a lower risk of [accident] culpability."The Canadian Senate issued a major report into all aspects of marijuana in 2002. Their chapter on Driving under the influence of cannabis concludes that "Cannabis alone, particularly in low doses, has little effect on the skills involved in automobile driving."The most recent study into drugs and driving was published in the July 2004 Journal of Accident Analysis and Prevention. Researchers at the Dutch Institute for Road Safety Research analyzed blood tests from those in traffic accidents, and found that even people with blood alcohol between 0.5% and 0.8% (below the legal limit) had a five-fold increase in the risk of serious accident. Drivers above the legal alcohol limit were 15 times more likely to have a collision. Drugs like Valium and Rohypnol produced results similar to alcohol, while cocaine and opiates showed only a small but "not statistically significant" increase in accident risk. As for the marijuana-only users? They showed absolutely no increased risk of accidents at all.
Stoned drivers are safe drivers
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Comment #3 posted by FoM on January 11, 2005 at 21:50:58 PT

Sense in a world that has lost all common sense is a breath of fresh air. 
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Comment #2 posted by goneposthole on January 11, 2005 at 21:26:16 PT

Ed makes sense

The guy should be nominated for the Nobel peace prize for common sense. Might as well have a Nobel peace prize for common sense, people just might begin to practice it.Peace is hard to find these days.

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Comment #1 posted by FoM on January 11, 2005 at 19:33:29 PT

Article on Drug Legalization from The BBC
Drugs Legalisation: 'When, Not If':
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