I am going to email this LTE to editors of different Toronto newspapers on 4/19... hopefully for publishing on 4/20...
Its kind of long, but hopefully one of them will put it up, if anyone notices anything (spelling/typos, ect), please let me know so i can fix it before sending it in!
So Today, is 4/20, and all across the known and unknown world, tokers unite to celebrate the plant and the culture that has sprung up around it...Cannabis, also known as hemp, marijuana, ganja, and hundreds of other names.
Now although this plant, which has been known for thousands of years as a valuable medical AND industrial plant, is illegal, thousands shall gather in this global celebration and protest. And it is only a taste of things to come in 2007.
Today, in Toronto and across Canada, many protestors will be out on the streets, demonstrating in peaceful assembly the belief that Cannabis, ought to be legalized and taxed in Canada. This is the first wave of protests in what is hoped to be the Summer of Legalization.
The problem, claimed by activists, is that PROHIBITION of Cannabis, does NOT work as intended, and infact, causes MORE societal problems than it solves.
Drug Prohibition, as a theory, intends to; Stop the flow of illegal drugs, Prevent use of illegal drugs, Reduce use of illegal drugs, and eventually Eliminate the availability of Drugs. This is the INTENTION, however, we must realize that this is not the REALITY we face today.
Drug Prohibition is actually tearing our society apart at the seams, it is creating rifts within society, between social classes and police. It creates a billion dollar, unregulated black market that is quick to be claimed by organized crime. Criminalizing users turns THOUSANDS of regular citizens into CRIMINALS. In an unregulated environment, there are no regulations, and that goes for quality, price, and who is buying drugs. Dealers will GLADLY sell in schools, and they don't ask for ID. This also brings violence into schools, when dealers begin to compete for territory and things sometimes turn sour. Prohibition also creates billion dollar criminal empires, because the profits in the drug market are so lucrative. The cost vs profit of running a grow op is enough for a person to put a downpayment on a house after a single grow. These are meant to be thrown up quickly, and pump out as much profit as possible in the shortest amount of time, without regard to safety or damage, not to mention criminals will occassionally set firetraps to burn down all evidence if caught. ALL of these problems are CREATED BY OUR GOVERNMENTS CURRENT STANCE OF PROHIBITION. If an ENTIRE organization is taken down in a massive raid, the ridiculous profits will have ANOTHER take its place almost overnight. There is no end to prohibition and the war on drugs, it is a war that will be fought forever... but does it have to?
The cost of Cannabis Prohibition rises every year, as more cases stream through and clog our justice system. Canadian Prohibition costs about $300 million, but our neighbours to the South have racked up a tab of over $500 billion every year for the last decade enforcing prohibition. We had only several thousand arrests and fines laid out, but they have had over 500,000 arrests and charges every year for the last decade. We should look at the US example of the War on Drugs, and realize, it is a failed example that we, as Canadians, should not be following.
We would like to think that Canadians are generally more progressive than our American neighbours, but several US states are already leading the way in Marijuana law reform. Several US states have decriminalized Cannabis, and some have even set up Medical programs that are far superior to the Health Canada program we have set up in Canada today. It is quite sad, and unfortunate that our current government actually wishes to abolish this program, instead of helping it to prosper, since Cannabis has been a known medicine for over 3,000 years.
Cannabis is studied in many countries around the world, but because of the US prohibition, information that comes to us from around the globe is occassionally tainted, or simply not put in the public eye to bring the topic up, but usually anything major will end up being a few pages back in a news paper in a small article that noone will read. However, due to the MAP (Media Awareness Project) all Cannabis and drug related articles have all been collected and sorted and are available for reading at http://www.mapinc.org.
Cannabis has been PROVEN to treat many symptoms, and depending on the strain and genetic makeup, some strains of Cannabis (there are over 200 globally) have been shown to treat some ailments better than others. Cancer patients are known users of medical marijuana; after chemotheraphy it can help them to regain an appetite, and to help treat nausea and vomiting, which are frequent problems for post-chemo patients. Multiple Slerosis users also benefit from this herb as it helps with pain, and helps to increase their quality of life. A recent article, published on Tuesday April 17th in Forbes Magazine about a study done on THC (delta-tetrahydrocannabinol - Cannabis's active ingredient) actually "cuts tumor growth in half in common lung cancer while impeding the cancer's ability to spread." Cannabis has also been proven to have medical uses for; Arthritus, Glaucoma, Nausea, prevention of Alzheimers, AIDS wasting syndrome, depression, movement disorders, parkinsons, dystonia, chronic pain, diabetes, Addiction, Asthma, Brain Injury/Stroke, Crohn's Disease, Ulcerative Depression, Mental Illness, Epilepsy, Fibromyalgia, High Blood Pressure/Hypertension, Migraine, Nail Patella Syndrome, Schizophrenia, Tourette's Syndrome and more. The world over has hundreds if not thousands of medical marijuana users and communities, people who suffer from these symptoms every day, and have first hand experience of marijuana's help in treating their symptoms.
The US Government however, denies marijuana's medical value, and on their website they claim:
"Marijuana is a Schedule I substance under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). Schedule I drugs are classified as having a high potential for abuse, no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States, and a lack of accepted safety for use of the drug or other substance under medical supervision." ~ http://www.usdoj.gov/dea/concern/marijuana.html
And yet, in Canada we have medical marijuana programs, and several US states have said the Federal Government is wrong, and are fighting back with Medical initiatives in Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington.
It is time for the lies of US-led prohibition to end. Reefer madness is a term that regards to the beginning of the Prohibition era, where the US government along with several other prominent business figures helped outlaw Cannabis by using the Mexican slang term "Marihuana" along with racism and using fear to manipulate voters. If they wish to continue to burden their society with a War that cannot be won, let them, but let us not do the same for our proud Canadian Nation. A legal system would not be hard to introduce, infact, a model for a Canadian system already exists in the city of Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Set before us, is the possibility of two futures for our nation.
One, if we follow the US-style War on Drugs, will lead to violent streets as drug lords and gangs continue to fight for power and control. Taxes will rise as the police need more money to fight prohibition, more police will be around and they will become less tolerant as violence accelerates with prohibition. Abuse, mistrust, police and political corruption will skyrocket as drug barons will seek to invade the legal system to protect their billion dollar empires, and eventually overrun our society, all in the name of illegal profit. The War on drugs has been fought for more than half a centrury, and this is a war that will be fought forever, for it has no end in sight.
The second, if Canada follows The Netherlands style of Cafe's and green houses and legal consumption for adults, will result in a lowered crime rate, lower amounts of drugs moved through schools, and millions of dollars spent on prohibition saved. Cannabis will also create a new commodity, which will also provide a new revenue stream of taxes for the government, and free up our criminal court system for real criminals.
Its time to legalize it Canada!
Peace and Pot,