CCletters




Quick Quotes for Letter Writers

From Chris Donald

I expect most letter writers will skip the use of quotes, with maybe someof you using a paraphrase or two. However, for those of you who have thetime to include some of the following information, it will help increaseyour chances of being widely published. In the following post, you willfind useful quotes about:

  1. Canadian attitudes towards decriminalization
  2. The success of Dutch policy
  3. The safety and effectiveness of marijuana as medicine
  4. The disastrous effects of US drug policy on Americans

Longer quotes are best paraphrased, though if you are only using a single quote it can be a paragraph in length. Take what you want from the following, and don’t feel obligated to include the cite, though it is best to do so.]

QUOTES ABOUT CANADIAN ATTITUDES TOWARDS MARIJUANA

“A 1995 poll by Health Canada said that 70 per cent of Canadianswant marijuana either legalized or decriminalized – which means that someone caught smoking wouldn’t get a criminal record, and would only have to pay something resembling a parking fine.

The 1995 poll, titled “Canada’s Alcohol and Other Drug Survey,” shows that 27 per cent of Canadians over the age of 15 actually want marijuana made legal, to be regulated in the same manner as tobacco and alcohol.

An Ontario survey in 1994 by the Addiction Research Foundation found that among people 35 to 54, the bulk of the population, 50 per cent said marijuana should be decriminalized. Another 10 per cent said the drug should be legal. Only 40 per cent favored keeping marijuana use a criminal offense.”

(N. B. Telegraph Journal, Sept. 10, 1996)

[The above can easily be paraphrased as something like: According to government studies, almost three out of four Canadians favor decriminalizing or legalizing cannabis, and over one quarter favor legalizing it and treating it like alcohol and tobacco.]


QUOTES ABOUT THE DUTCH POLICY ON MARIJUANA DECRIMINALIZATION

Dutch government statistics show that “The success of its policy [on marijuana]is reflected in the sharp decline of young people using hard drugs – only 2 per cent of Dutch addicts are under 22 years of age, compared with 14 per cent a decade ago. The countries addict population has dropped by a third, with 25,000 heavy users of cocaine and heroin, or 1.6 per 1,000 inhabitants. Other European countries have twice that level, and in the US it is six times greater.”

(International Herald Tribune, Nov 8, 1995)

[By my calculations, THERE HAS BEEN AN 85 PER CENT -DECREASE- IN THE NUMBER OF HARD DRUG USERS UNDER THE AGE OF 22 IN THE NETHERLANDS IN THE LAST TEN YEARS]

According to Ton Cramer, a senior addiction-policy staff member inthe Dutch health ministry, a recent in-depth study of Dutch drug use showsthat: “Cannabis use in Holland is no higher that elsewhere in Europe, andmore important, hard drugs such as heroin and cocaine, the real target ofthe Dutch soft drug policy, are under better control than in most othercountries.”
(TIME International, Apr. 29, 1996, vol 147, no 18)

According to Dutch government statistics, after 20 years of marijuana decriminalization, “violent crime is far lower than in the US… There were 1.9 homicides in Holland per 100,000 people in 1993. The US rate was 9.5.
(Dallas Morning News, 11 -14 -95. Originally from the Chicago Tribune)


CONSUMING MARIJUANA AND HEALTH (MED MJ)

After reviewing all available evidence, D.E.A. Administration Law Judge Francis J. Young stated (Sept. 6, 1988): “Marijuana in its natural form is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man.”

According to an editorial in the respected British medical journal The Lancet: “The smoking of cannabis, even long term, is not harmful to health.” (Nov. 11, 1995)

The journal of Clinical Oncology (US) reported in 1989 that 48 per cent of respondents to a survey of cancer specialists recommended marijuana as a medicine.

According to a 1982 report by the prestigious National Academy of Sciences in the United States: “Over the past 40 years, marijuana has been accused of causing an array of antisocial effects, … they have not been substantiated by scientific evidence. The therapeutic use of marijuana includes positive effects on appetite, nausea, vomiting, epilepsy, muscle spasticity, anxiety, depression, pain, glaucoma, asthma, and the symptoms of withdrawal from alcohol and narcotics.”


THE ROAD TO HELL: “DRUG” PROHIBITION AND THE U.S.

[The Canadian government has stated that part of the motivation behind Bill C8 was to bring our prohibition policies more in line with those of the US. Here is a glimpse at the effect of US prohibition policies:]

According to US Government statistics released August 18, 1996:

  • The rate of incarceration in the Unitied States has nearly doubled in the last decade, with 1.6 million prisoners last year.
  • The United States now has the highest incarceration rate of its own citizens in the entire world, surpassing even the former Soviet Union.
  • There were more than twice as many inmates in custody in the US last year than there were ten years ago.

According to the Press Democrat, a California newspaper, last December the chief of corrections statistics for the U.S. Justice Department, Bureau of Justice Satistics, said:

“The number of people incarcerated for drug crimes has grown far more rapidly than criminals locked up for any other reason, with drug offenders jumping from 8 per cent of all [California] state inmates in 1980, to more than a quarter of all inmates today. At the same time, violent criminals occupy a decreasing share of state prison cells, dropping from 57 per cent in 1980 to about 45 per cent today.

In the US federal prison system, drug offenders have increased 1,000 percent since 1980, and now comprise more than half of all federal inmates.”

“Last year, for the first time, Californians spent more on prisons than education.” (Philadelphia Enquirer, May 20, 1996)


Submitted by Chris Donald [email protected]
Dana Larsen [email protected]
Editor, Cannabis Canada, “Canada’s National Magazine of Marijuana & Hemp”
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