Enough of pro-pot's same old tired arguments

(Below was a letter appearing in a newspaper on Oct. 1, 2012)
Potent marijuana is a danger to society
Vancouver Sun,  October 1, 2012
Re: Municipal leaders take pot decriminalization to a vote, Sept. 25

It's a naive argument to say marijuana legalization would cause the drug's dealers, and their associated crime, to largely disappear. Common sense will tell you that these "entrepreneurs" will instead merely begin pushing other more potent drugs to make themselves their desperate buck.

The Netherlands was largely free of international drug-trafficking criminals when it began innocently trying to decriminalize personal-use pot.

Now it is the illegal drug capitol of Europe, producing a frightening array of designer drugs that requires its own "war" fought by a specialized police force.

Amsterdam has recently banned foreign cannabis tour-ism. The Netherlands', or any other country's marijuana social experiment is nothing we need to duplicate.

Pot continues to evolve into anything but a soft drug with THC content rising above 25 per cent from the 1970s' two to four per cent. When does marijuana become a "hard" drug? Does anyone really believe "safe, recreational" marijuana has no THC upper limit?

And maybe it's a little-known fact that marijuana contains the same myriad poisonous chemicals that cigarettes have, except nicotine.

Every year we see new peer-reviewed studies highlighting marijuana's dangers. The list is long. Examples: Canada's Maerten study proves marijuana smoke is toxic to cells and DNA (compared to cigarette smoke). An Australian study shows marijuana may speed or even cause psychosis in some people. California has identified marijuana smoke as cancer-causing after reviewing 30 studies. Who would vote for legalization after seeing these? Who would vote for marijuana even if they believed the jury is still out on the question of public safety?

The alcohol-induced carnage on our streets is plenty enough. We do not need even more fuzzy-headed people motoring near our families. Maybe some-day marijuana inebriation will be as detectable by the police as is alcohol.

Think of the enormous effort it has taken to turn our society against smoking tobacco. Smoking used to be cool. Smoking is now banned at my daughter's high school, as it should be. Classrooms are awash in anti-smoking posters. Imagine the mixed-messages and challenges cannabis legalization would bring. Not to mention even more first-and second-hand smoke.

It was recently announced that a medical marijuana has been developed without the high. Miraculous healings to follow.

Marijuana intoxication remains serious stuff. I say we at least wait and see how all the scientific and social revelations play out before we decide to open Pandora's stash bag.

Rob Brandreth-Gibbs, North Vancouver
(Here is another letter from Rob Brandreth-Gibbs published on 
Oct. 10, 2012 in the Vancouver Sun): ....click "Read More" below to continue....

"Marijuana prohibition serves society, especially youth"
Rob Brandreth-Gibbs, Vancouver Sun
Published: Thursday, October 11, 2012

Re: Pot prohibition serving only crooks, dealers, Column, Oct. 5

Barbara Yaffe writes that pot prohibition serves only crooks and dealers. It also serves the rest of our society, especially young people.

Yaffe correctly states that pot prohibition drives up the price of cannabis (as confirmed by a 2010 RAND Corporation report) but she does not go the next step.

Because drug users are sensitive to price, particularly younger ones, lofty prices help keep use rates comparatively low. For proof look at alcohol and tobacco use versus marijuana.

Use of the first two legal substances far surpasses use of marijuana, a solid indication that laws reduce the availability and acceptability of such substances.

Legalizing marijuana would lower the price and increase its use, along with the harm it causes, thus adding to the load on our justice and health systems.

Violent drug rings will undersell any legal price. Their pot will be tax-free. And they will sell substitutes as necessary. Legalization and more demand for marijuana will only add to their might and reach. To say nothing about their B.C. bud export "business."

Tax marijuana? The costs to society of alcohol and tobacco are far greater than the revenue they generate through taxes. (Marijuana contains higher levels of some toxins than found in tobacco.)

If we are to err on the question of marijuana legalization, I say we err on the side of our kids and other Canadians who respect our laws. And want long, healthy lives.

--Rob Brandreth-Gibbs North Vancouver

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