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Paranoid American Drug Czar Should Butt Out



Source: Province, The (CN BC)
Author: Jim McNulty, The Province 
Published: Sunday, December 15, 2002
Copyright: 2002 The Province
Contact: [email protected]
Website: http://www.canada.com/vancouver/theprovince/

It's high time that ranting American drug czar John Walters canned his insulting attacks on Canada and British Columbia. 

The White House's man on a mission to expand America's hopelessly failed war on drugs is trashing his northern neighbour in a most paranoid way.

Paranoia, of course, is a staple of the "reefer-madness" culture that believes marijuana causes evil on a satanic scale.

Walters is losing it as he high-dudgeons his way from microphone to microphone, hammering Justice Minister Martin Cauchon's plan to decriminalize pot in the new year.

"You know Vancouver's referred to as Vansterdam. Go up, go get loaded," he prattled from Buffalo the other day.

I didn't know this, but apparently we are awash here in Lotusland with stoned American tourists.

Walters fears lax attitudes "left over from the Cheech and Chong years of the '60s." And the next decade: "Some people seem to be living with the view of the reefer-madness '70s."

Wasn't it disco and Donna Summer that made folks crazy in the '70s?

Madness is clearly a hang-up for the guy, who cautions against falling into the trap of "reefer-madness madness."

Some of us would argue that he's the poor fellow with the reefer-madness madness. And he doesn't stop there.

Warning of even more crackdowns at the U.S. border for travelling Canadians, Walters says, "Canada is a dangerous staging area" for high-grade pot that has an insatiable market in America.

Dangerous staging area? What are we, Afghanistan? Iraq?

No. We're a benign, peace-loving, law-abiding country with a falling crime rate that pales in comparison to the murder and mayhem in America's big cities.

Less and less are we beholden to the White House view that marijuana is on a par with weapons of mass destruction. Or that prohibition, which worked so well against alcohol in the last century, is working any better against pot.

In recent months, Canadians have received two major reports that followed dozens of earlier reports suggesting a new approach to the U.S. failure, which is copied by Canadian police. A Senate committee recommended legalization of pot; a House committee called for decriminalization that would remove possession of small amounts from the Criminal Code in favour of a simple fine.

Cauchon says we're not ready for legalization, even though the Senate report noted it is the only way to end pot crime that law agencies battle -- as they lost to rum-runners in the old days.

The fact is that decriminalization won't make any real difference on the street. The only way to do that is to legalize pot, as Newfoundland Premier Roger Grimes suggests.

"Put an age limit on it and recognize there's some use of it out there, make it safer, make some money from it."

As we did with alcohol a long time ago.

"What is critical," says United Church minister Bill Blaikie, "is that we make the distinction between cannabis and other drugs, and our drug war doesn't do that.

"If you keep lying to kids, they know the difference," says the NDP leadership candidate. "We've got too many people going out there telling kids, 'If you smoke marijuana, you'll end up on heroin.'"

Just like John Walters. Butt out, sir; your failed mission and rhetoric is tiresome.

Note: U.S. drug czar John Walters slams Canada as a 'dangerous' drug nation. Walters fears lax attitudes 'left over from the Cheech and Chong years of the '60s.' And the next decade: 'Some seem to be living with the view of the reefer-madness '70s.' 

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