The following article is from the Province, Thursday September 5, page A14.It asks readers for feedback and opinions on decriminalization ofmarijuana. Columnist Mike Robert’s email address is [email protected].

When you respond, you should cc your response to the Province Editorialpage at [email protected]. You can also call the Provinceeditorial page at 732-2063.

If you aren’t from BC but have the time and inclination to respond, pleasedo so. Letters from Americans warning Canadians not to go the way of the UScould be very effective.

What have they been smoking in Ottawa?

“Urban 20” by Mike Roberts

I got a strange call from building security last week. There was a guy withgreen-and-red hair, a Hacky-Sack, and a shine in his eyes at the fortressthat passes as our reception bay, insisting on hand delivering an envelopeto yours truly.

The mail doesn't get delivered in these "monolithic structures" he wasinsisting.

David Malmo-LevineNut-bar alert?

The guy who popped up for a chat was anything but - a little dogged in hispursuit, perhaps, but an articulate fella all the same.

Bill C-8 is David Malmo-Levine's nemesis at present. The self-proclaimed"responsible drugpeace activist" wants Canadians to know what aretro-thinking piece of legislation the Controlled Drugs and Substances Actpresents.

"The same scare tactics they used back in the '20s and '30s," insistsMalmo-Levine. "The senators passed this law without any defendableexcuses."

Funny, isn't it - three million Canadians smoke the soft drug called marijuana.

Funny, isn't it - how they're opening city-hall-sponsored marijuana shopsin the Netherlands to keep smokers off the streets and away from harddrugs, while here we're raiding hemp stores.

Three hundred Dutch puffers swing through the Pyramid in Bussum every day.Profits fund drug-use education programs.

Here in BC, with marijuana harvest season in front of us, Malmo-Levine isanticipating a major crackdown fueled by C-8.

He thinks the bill stinks. It does not reduce the penalties for possessionfor minor quantities; it drastically increases police powers of search andseizure; it prohibits medical and industrial uses of the plant; and itstreamlines the justice system to allow for more trafficking charges to belaid.

Next week in this space, Malmo-Levine explains the controversial bill andwhat it means to BC's No.1 cash crop and the people who enjoy "flowersmoking."

In the interim, I'd like to hear from readers - pro and con - who questionthe federal government's war on drugs.

Should we decrim the weed or crack down?

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