#266 US Drug Warrior Tries To Fool Canadians On Cannabis

Date: Sat, 17 May 2003
Subject: # 266 US Drug Warrior Tries To Fool Canadians On Cannabis

US Drug Warrior Tries to Fool Canadians on Cannabis

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PLEASE COPY AND DISTRIBUTE
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DrugSense FOCUS Alert # 266 May 17, 2003

As the current Canadian war on cannabis disintegrates before our eyes,
Canadian leaders have to decide what kind of policy will come next.
Professional prohibitionists from the U.S. have been suggesting that
Canadian pot policy should not be reformed.

This absurd position should be offensive to Canadians, especially
given the horrible consequences of the drug war for the U.S.

Few people have been as wrong about the drug war as Joseph Califano,
but he continues to spread misinformation. This week in Canada’s Globe
and Mail newspaper, Califano is at it again. Please write a letter to
the Globe and Mail exposing the many factual and logical
inconsistencies in Califano’s assault on common sense.

Thanks for your effort and support.

WRITE A LETTER TODAY

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

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This is VERY IMPORTANT as it is one very effective way of gauging our
impact and effectiveness.

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Source: Globe and Mail (Canada)
Contact: letters@globeandmail.ca

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TARGET ANALYSIS

Canada’s leading national newspaper, with a circulation slightly over
336 thousand copies daily, tends to print short letters to the editor.
Our analysis shows the average published letter at only 133 words in
length. The Globe and Mail very rarely prints letters over 200 words
in length. It is best to focus your letter on one narrow topic or
argument and state some solid facts about it.

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Pubdate: Friday, May 16, 2003
Source: Globe and Mail (Canada)
Page: A23
Contact: letters@globeandmail.ca
Website: http://www.globeandmail.ca/
Author: Joseph Califano
Note: Joseph Califano, chairman of the National Center on Addiction and
Substance Abuse at Columbia University, is a former U.S. secretary of
health, education and welfare.

WHAT ARE YOU SMOKING, CANADA?

The issue of decriminalizing marijuana is first and foremost about
safeguarding kids and Canada should be attentive to the threat that
marijuana poses to youth.

We know that neither Canada nor the United States has been able to
keep its two legal drugs — alcohol and tobacco — out of the hands of
teenagers and children. Members of Canada’s Parliament should keep
this in mind as they consider any proposal to decriminalize marijuana,
because the drug’s sharp edges undercut claims that smoking pot is a
harmless recreation.

Research at the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse
(CASA) has established a statistical relationship between the use of
tobacco, alcohol and marijuana and the use of harder drugs such as
cocaine, heroin and acid.

Examining data from a U.S. Centers for Disease Control survey of
11,000 ninth-through 12th-graders, CASA isolated teen use of these
“gateway” drugs from other problem behaviours. The conclusion: Among
teens with no other problem behaviours, those who drank, smoked
cigarettes and used marijuana at least once in the past month are
almost 17 times likelier to use another drug such as cocaine, heroin
or LSD.

Most people who smoke marijuana do not move on to other drugs, just as
most who smoke cigarettes don’t get lung cancer, but both kinds of
smokers hugely increase their risks. These risks rise with teen use:
The earlier and more often an individual uses marijuana, the more
likely that person is to use cocaine.

Biomedical research tells us why. Studies in Italy, Spain and the U.S.
reveal that marijuana affects levels of dopamine (the pleasure
chemical) in the brain in a manner similar to heroin, cocaine and
nicotine. The research indicates that marijuana may prime the brain to
seek substances such as heroin and cocaine that act in a similar way.

While psychological dependence on marijuana is widely recognized, the
drug’s potential for physical addiction is only recently becoming
clear. Studies show that rats subjected to immediate cannabis
withdrawal exhibit behaviour changes similar to those after withdrawal
from cocaine, alcohol and opiates. Science magazine calls this “the
first neurological basis for marijuana withdrawal.”

Canada’s politicians should not underestimate the dangers of
marijuana. In the U.S., more teens and children under 19 enter
treatment for marijuana abuse and dependence than for abuse and
dependence involving any other drug — including alcohol. Research
shows marijuana use can cause respiratory infections, increased heart
rate, anxiety and panic attacks. A 2002 study associated marijuana
smoking with an increased risk of head and neck cancer. There is also
evidence of a relationship between the use of marijuana and
psychiatric illness; studies have shown that marijuana use increases
the risk of depression and may trigger the onset or relapse of
schizophrenia in predisposed individuals. We have known for some time
that marijuana harms short-term memory, motor skills and the ability
to concentrate.

Decriminalization of marijuana would send a signal to Canadian teens
that smoking pot can be seen as a rite of passage. It is not. Smoking
pot is a dangerous game of Russian roulette that can ruin young lives
and devastate parents. That’s why Canadians should reject any
proposals to decriminalize this dangerous drug.

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SAMPLE LETTER

(Please 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 editor,

The concerns raised by Joseph Califano, chairman of the National
Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University, (‘What
are you smoking, Canada?’, May 16), over the possibility that we might
decriminalize the possession of small amounts of cannabis are
misplaced. There is no evidence from jurisdictions that have
decriminalized cannabis, including a dozen U.S. states, that
decriminalization has a significant impact on usage rates.

American teens consistently report that cannabis is easier to obtain
than beer. If cannabis were as addictive as tobacco, as impairing,
disinhibiting and criminogenic as alcohol, as toxic as Walkerton water
and as demotivating as the nightly news, it would make *less* sense to
abdicate its cultivation and distribution to crooks who work on commission.

Evidently prohibition does not make the herb less alluring, available,
addictive, impairing or harmful. In fact, every major study of
cannabis policy before or since Nixon’s Shafer Commission has
concluded that prohibition magnifies what little harm cannabis causes.
Further, according to the Institute of Medicine and the World Health
Organization, prohibition is directly responsible for creating the
“gateway” from cannabis to the other so-called “controlled drugs and
substances.”

Matthew M. Elrod

IMPORTANT: Always include your address and telephone
number

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ADDITIONAL INFO To Help You in Your Letter Writing Efforts, Please
See

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

References You May Find of Value:

The well documented cannabis related facts at http://www.drugwarfacts.org/
http://www.drugwardistortions.org/ and http://marijuanainfo.org/

While it is a huge report, using quotes from the Senate Special
Committee on Illegal Drugs report will have special value to
Canadians. To find material for quotes, use the links at
http://cannabislink.ca/gov/#SENATE

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

Canadian Activists Are Asking That You Please Write Letters to the
Editor to Their Newspapers

Now, and the weeks ahead, Letters to the Editor of Canadian newspapers
from both Canadians and cannabis activists around the world are most
important.

Please bookmark these links, which will bring up target news items –
both today and in the weeks ahead – and write as many letters as
possible. By your efforts we can influence the debate in Canada, and
perhaps the end result. But it will take an extra effort on the part
of all cannabis activists to make it happen.

Bookmark: http://www.mapinc.org/mjcn.htm (Cannabis – Canada)

Bookmark: http://www.mapinc.org/mmjcn.htm (Cannabis – Medicinal – Canada)

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

TO SUBSCRIBE, DONATE, VOLUNTEER TO HELP, OR UPDATE YOUR EMAIL SEE

http://www.drugsense.org/hurry.htm

TO UNSUBSCRIBE SEE

http://www.drugsense.org/unsub.htm

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

Prepared by: Stephen Young – http://www.maximizingharm.com DrugSense Focus
Alert Specialist

= Please help us help reform. Send drug-related news to
editor@mapinc.org