Let’s bring balance to marijuana debate

Letters on Sensible BC's campaign to spark a referendum on marijuana decriminalization

Editor, The News:

Re: ‘Because it would be legal (Letters, Dec. 18).

The aim of SensibleBC was to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana for personal use, not to legalize it.

In other words, the police would not lay charges against individuals having the drug for their own use, leaving them more time to pursue serious crimes.

Frantic rhetoric on both sides muddied the waters so that this simple aim was lost and that’s likely why SensibleBC failed to reach its target.

So, let’s have a few facts.

Until 1930, every pharmacy in the U.S. supplied cannabis tinctures as remedies for all manner of ailments.

In more enlightened countries, marijuana is used by mainstream religious groups.

In Canada, tens of thousands of people have Health Canada approved licenses to use medical marijuana and its use has not only had a major effect on the health and comfort of these people, but has also saved millions of health care dollars.

Add to this the number of people who use the drug recreationally and it is likely that everyone knows someone who has tried it.

These people are all around you. They are neighbours, friends and family members. They are professionals and business people, government workers and first responders.

They keep their usage private, even among their closest friends and family, because of the unreasoning prejudice.

SensibleBC volunteers were ridiculed and called druggies and potheads. Would these name-callers label everyone who enjoys an occasional drink as a ‘drunk’?

I am sorry for Ken Ogden’s family as dealing with addiction is a tragedy.

However, the reality is that people who enjoy a few puffs in the comfort of their own homes are about as likely to graduate to crack or heroin as someone who enjoys a glass of wine with dinner will end up on the street drinking mouthwash.

SensibleBC needs to get its point across more clearly.

Craig Speirs needs to tone down the quasi-religious rhetoric and Cherryl Katnich and others like her need to educate themselves without recourse to hysteria and misinformation.

Maybe then we can bring some balance to the debate and make informed decisions.

Anne Rostvig

Maple Ridge

 

‘Not sensible’

Editor, The News:

Re: ‘Because it would be legal (Letters, Dec. 18).

Well done, Garnett Schneider, or your sensible response.

I will not sign the SensibleBC petition, either, because it is not sensible.

I am glad the majority of Canadians agree.

I hear the same old over-used rhetoric about marijuana use declining if it was legalized and all the financial benefits.

All this is baseless speculation.

When they had prohibition in the U.S., and then it was lifted, alcohol use did not go down.

If marijuana is decriminalized, where will the user find the money to buy it legally, if he did not have the money when it was still illegal?

If that person was unemployed and resorted to crime to fuel his habit, how does the decriminalization benefit him? If the price drops, he can just consume more.

Is marijuana smoke less harmful than cigarette smoke? Why do we want to legalize something that is bad for the user as well as  non-smokers?

I know people are already smoking pot, but we don’t need an increase in smokers, cigarettes or marijuana.

Michael Prinsloo

Maple Ridge

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