TIME TO PASS BILL DECRIMINALIZING PERSONAL POT USE
MP Martin's Push For Fine Instead Should Not Irk U.S.
Uncle Sam should have no argument against B.C. MP Keith Martin's private-member's bill to stop criminally charging Canadians for personal-use marijuana possession and to fine them instead.
The U.S. government wouldn't have a leg to stand on if it tried to block Canadian decriminalization of pot.
Quietly, the drug has become effectively legal in California.
The California development is a bit of a sham, really, a back-door, referendum-initiated approach to letting stoners get high without fear of The Man, while facilitating legitimate medical use by those suffering chronic illnesses such as cancer, AIDS and multiple sclerosis.
It's based on 1996 and 2004 state legislation allowing pot growing, possession and consumption for medical reasons. A doctor needs to approve the weed to treat chronic health issues.
The U.S. government, which still outlaws medical-use marijuana, agreed in March to stop medical-pot raids except when state and federal laws are broken.
I was in California last month when U.S. Attorney-General Eric Holder announced the new American pot policy. I talked to users and growers, and I can assure you that Californians need not be on death's door to get a doctor's recommendation allowing them to grow dope and shop in marijuana stores selling 50 or more different varieties of pot and hashish.
There's even an outfit in San Francisco that dispatches bike messengers with satchels full of weed when doctor-approved customers phone in an order.
A one-minute search on the Internet, or a call to a hooked-up friend, will provide a list of MDs who approve the herbal remedy for nearly any ailment.
Trouble sleeping? Anxiety? Depression? Lack of appetite? Sports injury? The doctor says, "Smoke pot."
Shops also peddle a variety of marijuana-infused drinks and edibles to deliver the THC without clouding the lungs.
Vendor names run the gamut from the clinical -- Patient Dynamic Care in Los Angeles -- to the psychedelic -- Mr. Purple Skunk in Modesto.
Stores' various strains are subject to critical review. A consumer in posh Tiburon complained online that for his $60 US, he expected an eighth-ounce of "high-grade bud" but his purchase "tasted terrible and sparked." However, he noted, "it did get me high." Another Marin County customer praised the "great high-quality meds" and gushed that the delivery driver "had lots of love for me."
Thirteen states have approved medical-pot use, but California, naturally, stands on the cutting edge of the legalization wedge.
Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca MP Martin says decriminalizing simple marijuana possession will help take pot profits out of the gang-war equation, letting people grow the drug instead of buying it in the blood-drenched black market.
Compared with what's going on in California, decriminalizing pot in Canada looks like a sneeze in a typhoon. Pass the bill, man. Then pass the Electric Hindu Kush. I feel a tummy-ache coming on.
Copyright: 2009 Canwest Publishing Inc.