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US drug war starting with Marc

Paul Grier | Opinion | August 29th, 2005



Editorial opinions or comments expressed in this online edition of Interrobang newspaper reflect the views of the writer and are not those of the Interrobang or the Fanshawe Student Union. The Interrobang is published weekly by the Fanshawe Student Union at 1001 Fanshawe College Blvd., P.O. Box 7005, London, Ontario, N5Y 5R6 and distributed through the Fanshawe College community. Letters to the editor are welcome. All letters are subject to editing and should be emailed. All letters must be accompanied by contact information. Letters can also be submitted online by clicking here.
Just say no to the US drug war. Brace yourself Canada — the $60 billion, a year US prison-filling drug war has taken its first step into Canada.

On July 29, 2005 the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) of the United States has Canadian law enforcement arrest Marc Emery and serve him with an extradition order so he can be tried in the United States. Marc Emery is the leader of the Marijuana Party of Canada, a successful businessman and the leading cannabis activist in Canada. Marc has a thriving business of selling cannabis seeds online and over-the-counter in his shop in Vancouver. He declares on his income tax form, “marijuana seed vendor” and in the last ten years he has paid over $600,000 CAD in taxes to the provincial and federal governments. Health Canada has even sent customers to him to buy seeds for medicinal use. The police do not bother him, the community accepts him, and NDP leader Jack Layton supports him along with many other politicians.

Marc has made millions of dollars and yet he only owns the shirt on his back. The $3 million a year he is reportedly earning goes right back into his belief in freedom for the people. So why would our Canadian government consider extraditing a Canadian citizen that is not considered a criminal to a country where he could face a life sentence or even death?

Let's make out politicians and law enforcement understand that we, the people, will not tolerate it. We want to be free; we don't want more prisons. The US drug war has proven itself to be a horrendous failure; as the budget increases each year so does the drug problem. The US has more prisoners per capita than any other country in the world — seven times more per capita than Canada. This is in large part due to the drug war; a staggering 24 per cent of the prisoners are locked up for drug offenses. Prohibition has created a huge, high-priced black market for weed that could otherwise be grown anywhere, by anyone. Ever since that ill-fated day in 1971 when Richard Nixon declared a war on drugs the US has built and filled jails at a criminally insane pace. Most marijuana smokers are law abiding, family oriented people, and putting them in jail for smoking a harmless herb is wrong. Reefer madness is irresponsible and destructive; children need their parents at home.

Marijuana is not dangerous and is no more a stepping-stone to hard drug use than breastfeeding is to alcoholism. Marijuana has many proven medical purposes, relieving all kinds of illnesses, including stress. The hemp seed is a super-food loaded with omega-3's and other nutrients; the stock produces the strongest fiber on earth and can be used for clothing and even car panels; the plant can be distilled into ethanol to make a clean-burning fuel.

Truth and education is far more effective than lies, fear and propaganda. The money wasted on law enforcement and incarceration could be better spent helping the unfortunate few that skip through the cracks and wind up on hard drugs.
Please write to our Justice Minister, Irwin Cotler, at Parliamentary Office 312 West Block, Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6 — no stamp needed — and tell him what you think. September 10, 2005 is designated a day of international protest. In Toronto, the protest will be held at the US Consulate at 360 University Ave. at 3 pm. Tell your friends: this is an important day for Canadian freedom.

Paul Grier ia a marijuana advict.
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