I want to commend Dean Kuipers for his excellent article "The Strange and Seedy Case of Marc Emery, Canadian" [Re: Cover story, Sept. 22]. As a Canadian, I have been following this story very closely from my side of the border. Canadian news coverage was slow to start mainly because of the timing of the arrests, which occurred at the beginning of a long weekend in Canada. But since then, there has been steady coverage of the story in the Canadian media. Not so for the American media.
In February, I became the Marijuana Party of Canada candidate for Victoria, British Columbia. So far this year ( which is not over yet ), a number of major events have happened in both of our countries:
The massacre of four Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers in rural Alberta was initially blamed on a marijuana grow operation when, in fact, the killer was a psychotic and a known cop hater. The U.S. Supreme Court, in its ruling on Gonzales v. Raich, made possession of medical marijuana illegal even in the states where medical marijuana is allowed. Health Canada approved the sale of Sativex, which is a tincture of cannabis used to treat pain in MS patients. The U.S. government is trying to extradite Renee Boje for marijuana conspiracy charges in California. The DEA uncovers the infamous drug tunnel from British Columbia to Washington State. One shipment of marijuana was allowed to go through, but there are claims that the tunnel would be used to smuggle other, more dangerous drugs, guns, and terrorists.
The DEA arrests Marc Emery and two others on charges of conspiracy to manufacture marijuana, conspiracy to distribute marijuana seeds and conspiracy to engage in money laundering. They also dismantled and shut down the BC Marijuana Party headquarters, Cannabis Culture magazine, and Internet-based POT-TV. Karen P. Tandy, DEA Administrator brags that the U.S. government has struck a serious blow against marijuana legalization movements. It seems that the United States and Canada are heading in opposite directions regarding the legalization of cannabis.
The majority of Canadians support legalization of marijuana. The Fraser Institute in British Columbia ( similar to the CATO Institute ) estimates that the marijuana industry [generates] at least $7 billion in British Columbia per year. Add to that the policing, court, and incarceration costs, and that is a huge loss to the economy and to society. This money could be used to fund harm-reduction programs such as health care, education, and housing for at-risk or addicted individuals. As a society, we have to decide if the war on marijuana is worth the effort. Canadians have already made that decision: It's not!
CANDIDATE, MARIJUANA PARTY OF CANADA
VICTORIA, BRITISH COLUMBIA, CANADA
2005 Southland Publishing