Art Pottery, Politics and Food
Wednesday, May 28, 2003

Logo, Canada's Marijuana Party

On August 8, 2002 I sent this email to Paul Begala of CNN’s Crossfire regarding their August 7th program:

Mr. Begala, You were spectacular against old-time Bush minion Charlie Black. Both Black and Nofacts sputtered helplessly as you hammered home key facts about Cheney's time at Halliburton and his errors while occupying the Vice Presidency.
However, in the marijuana segment you seemed to mirror Novak's poorly informed knee jerking. Nevada, I'm sure, will enjoy considerable tax revenue from marijuana's legalization. I don't believe the UK has legalized cannabis but rather police in the City of London do not prosecute possession in small amounts. Additionally, our northern border faces a 'threat' as Canada considers legalization of personal use marijuana. If this happens it is simply a matter of time before the old tobacco states begin to seriously re-examine marijuana and hemp as a crop.

Various reports, this morning, in Canada’s Globe and Mail and Toronto Star, the International Herald-Tribune and the Washington Post illustrate the growing and needless rift between Washington and Ottawa.
From the Washington Post:

Justice Minister Martin Cauchon, who introduced the bill in Parliament, said at a news conference in Ottawa…"Cannabis consumption is first and foremost a health matter," he continued. "It should not result in criminal penalties. We have to ask ourselves as a society: Does it make sense that a person who makes a bad choice can receive the lasting burden of a criminal record? . . . The legislation I introduced today will make sure the punishment fits the crime."

The same article quotes Bush administration director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy John P. Walters saying:

…Some of the strongest and most dangerous marijuana on the U.S. market is coming from Canada…that production has been rapidly expanding and is largely unchecked.

A trusty old meme from the Reagan era used formerly against the Neatherlands resurfaces in the Post article to smear the beautiful Canadian city of Vancouver:

In some Canadian cities, notably Vancouver, heroin users shoot up in broad daylight on street corners littered with needles, and some people openly smoke marijuana in pot cafes. Some provincial officials have proposed setting up supervised injection sites where heroin and cocaine users could receive clean needles and inject themselves.

This exact same paragraph, substituting Dutch and Amsterdam for Canadian and Vancouver, was used by US officials and in media stories during the Nancy Reagan “Just Say No” era which began in 1980, oddly the same year George W. Bush went sober. I have not traveled to Vancouver but I know many people who have. No one described “street corners littered with needles” which, I would think with no pun intended, would stick in one’s memory. I clearly recall, during several trips to Europe during the late 80’s and early 90’s, how clean and beautiful Amsterdam and the Neatherland were and how different from the “needle littered street corners” described in the American press.

It is important to remember that until marijuana was outlawed by the United States in the early part of the 20th century, Hemp was Kentucky’s largest cash crop having a wide range of benificial industrial and manufacturing uses.

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