#238 Canadian Newspapers Carrying Anti-War Messages

Date: Mon, 18 Mar 2002
Subject: # 238 Canadian Newspapers Carrying Anti-War Messages


DrugSense FOCUS Alert # 238 Mon, 18 Mar 2002

Canadian Newspapers Carrying Anti-war Messages

*********************PLEASE COPY AND DISTRIBUTE*************************

In the six years The Media Awareness Project have been tracking
newspaper coverage of drug policy news and opinion, we have seen a
demonstrable and measurable shift away from Drug War support. Not
only has overall coverage and column inches increased tremendously,
the most important half of the equation – opinion – has clearly swung
to a majority support for reform ideas and proposals. Additionally, we
see an increasing number of newspapers calling out Drug War
hypocrisies, and most notable is the number of editorial boards and
opinion writers who are quite frankly ‘demanding’ public officials
take notice and accept accountability for ending of the War as we have
known it for the past 60+ years.

While the needed areas of reform are numerous and each require more
light and scrutiny, nowhere is the need for dramatic reform more
apparent than in the area of cannabis law reforms. While recent
opinion polls may still show a minority of voters believe that
“Marijuana should be legalized for adult use”, we also know that a
majority of voters believe an adult should not be jailed for marijuana
possession. This percentage jumps to 80% or better when the question
involves adults using marijuana as medicine.

Most folks already know that Canada has been ahead of the U.S. in
terms of it’s laws about marijuana for adults. In the past two years,
not only has their federal government made allowances for medical
users, but they are clearly giving serious debate to overall
decriminalization of marijuana possession. This of course has provoked
an even higher level of press coverage than enjoyed by the readers of
U.S. newspapers. And likewise, an increasing amount of this coverage
is calling for strong reform of drug policy.

The NATIONAL POST, Canada’s second most widely read newspaper came out
with likely the strongest editorial viewpoint about marijuana
decriminalization that we have seen from a newspaper of this size
anywhere in North America. The editorial ran this past Friday (Mar 15)
and speaks for itself.

This is as strong a need as we have ever had for supporting and
thank-you letters.

One need not make a particularly eloquent statement, nor compose the
‘perfect’ thoughts for this letter, since the editorial does the work
for us. What is most needed is to let the National Post know that
their viewpoint is shared by many people, and not just those who ‘want
to legalize all drugs’, or simply ‘unrepentant hippies and
counterculture types’ (You all KNOW who you are…)

Thanks for your effort and support. We suggest you review our Target
Analysis (below the Sample Letter) prior to writing your letter for
information which may increase your impact and your chance of


It’s not what others do it’s what YOU do


Phone, fax etc.)

Please post a copy your letter or report your action to the sent
letter list (sentlte@mapinc.org) if you are subscribed, or by
E-mailing a copy directly to MGreer@mapinc.org if you are not
subscribed. Your letter will then be forwarded to the list with so
others can learn from your efforts and be motivated to follow suit.

Subscribing to the Sent LTE list (sentlte@mapinc.org) will help you to
review other sent LTEs and perhaps come up with new ideas or
approaches as well as keeping others aware of your important writing

To subscribe to the Sent LTE mailing list see http://www.mapinc.org/lists/index.htm
and/or http://www.mapinc.org/lists/index.htm#form

This is VERY IMPORTANT as it is our way of gauging our impact and


Source National Post (Canada)

Contact letters@nationalpost.com


Send your letter to any or all of the newspapers in Canada and ask
them to consider reprinting the editorial from the National Post.

You can go to the DrugSense MEDIA EMAIL DATABASE. Simply go to the
website below and select ‘Canada’ as your criteria and – presto – a
list of media contacts complete with names of the media organization
will be presented or E-mailed to you.



Newspaper editors expect that the LTEs you write are for them alone.
For the best results always address each email one at a time to each



URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v02/n468/a04.html


Pubdate: Fri, 15 Mar 2002
Source: National Post (Canada)
Copyright: 2002 Southam Inc.
Contact: letters@nationalpost.com


The lobby to decriminalize marijuana continues to grow, with the
Canadian Medical Association now joining the push. The organization,
which represents more than 50,000 physicians, has strengthened the
case previously made by groups such as the federally funded Canadian
Centre on Substance Abuse, the Association of Canadian Police Chiefs
and the Canadian Bar Association. These organizations hardly
constitute a hippy rabble.

What is it going to take for the federal government to abandon the
obsolete view that marijuana is a dangerous vice that merits the force
of Criminal Code sanction? The CMA notes that of the 66,500 drug
offences in Canada in 1997, more than 70%, or 47,908, were
cannabis-related. Of those, two-thirds involved mere possession and
the majority of those charged with offences were young. About 2,000
Canadians go to jail annually for simple possession of marijuana. It
is these figures, and not the consumption of the mood-altering
substance, that constitute the real source of concern Enforcement of
our marijuana laws necessitates a useless waste of public funds and
police resources.


The facts show that marijuana generally contributes to ruin of neither
mind nor body


Public opinion is also well ahead of the government on this issue.
Polls have shown that Canadians overwhelmingly support
decriminalization, with one survey in 1990 finding that seven out of
10 Canadians felt marijuana possession merited no more than a fine.


The federal legislators should take the advice of their doctors and
decriminalize marijuana entirely.



NOTE If you choose to use this letter as a model please modify it at
least somewhat so that the paper does not receive numerous copies of
the same letter and so that the original author receives credit for
his/her work.

TO THE EDITORS of The National Post

Thank you for publishing, “It’s agreed Decriminalize

It’s refreshing to read some sane, rational viewpoints regarding
Marijuana Prohibition. Your editorial aptly noted that it is the law
enforcement of this inane criminal interdiction policy , aka
Prohibition, that causes the real harm to our society.

Too often the media plays the “reefer madness” party line at the
expense of not only medical marijuana users, but all adults who use
marijuana responsibly. After all, such coverage usually garners gushy,
reactionary readership. It does squat though to truly inform and
educate the public.

Thank you kindly for showing some leadership, honesty and willingness
to buck the status quo on Marijuana Prohibition. Canada has an amazing
opportunity to not only demonstrate leadership in reforming our drug
laws but also to send a clear signal that we will not be intimidated
by the failed American “Drug War” Policies of zero-tolerance and its
wasteful, shameful abuses.

David d’Apollonia Dartmouth, Nova Scotia


ADDITIONAL INFO to help you in your letter writing

Writer’s Resources http://www.mapinc.org/resource/


The National Post is one of two newspapers sold everywhere in Canada.
Here is what their website says about their circulation (note that a
Canadian dollar is worth about 63 cents in U.S. dollars today) 810,400
daily readers across 16 major Canadian markets. $76,918 average
household income is 30% higher than the Canadian average. $49,346
average personal income is 40% higher than the Canadian average.
National Post daily readers are 44% more likely than adults 18+ to
have personally accessed a search engine in the past month.

Our analysis of the published letters at http://www.mapinc.org/mapcgi/ltedex.pl?SOURCE=National+Post+(CN)
shows that the National Post selects what they print based on quality
– without any bias as to the location of the LTE writer. Clearly,
shorter to the point LTEs are most likely to be printed. Our analysis
shows that the average published letter body is only 124 words long,
with a range from 56 to 258 words.



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We wish to thank all our contributors, editors, Newshawks and letter
writing activists.


In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is
distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior
interest in receiving the included information for research and
educational purposes.


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Mail in your contribution. Make checks payable to MAP Inc. send your
contribution to

The Media Awareness Project (MAP) Inc. d/b/a DrugSense PO Box 651
Porterville, CA 93258 (800) 266 5759

********************* Just DO It!! **********************************

Prepared by Stephen Heath of The Drug Policy Forum of Florida
DrugSense FOCUS Alert Specialist