Frank Discussion Cannabis Facts for Canadians Oh Cannabis!

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 Claim: Alcohol and tobacco cause enough problems.
  We can't go adding another intoxicant to the legal market.

Marijuana has been here for thousands of years without any documented deaths resulting from ingesting cannabis. Relative to alcohol and tobacco, marijuana is harmless.

"The costs of externalities attributable to cannabis are probably minimal; no deaths, few hospitalizations, and very little loss of productivity."
- Senate Special Committee on Illegal Drugs, 2002. P. 436

"Cannabis is widely used in every part of the world, does not have the harmful effects ascribed to it, and poses little risk to public health."
- Senate Special Committee on Illegal Drugs, 2002. P. 467

69.0% were for tobacco
28.4% were for alcohol
2.0% for other illicit drugs
0.5% for cannabis

Of the social costs to the Ontario health care system attributable to drugs in 1992 (as stated in the report by the 2002 Special Senate Committee on Illicit Drugs) >>>

As you can see, there is little reason to fear any significant "harm to society" as a result of marijuana use. In reality, if more people chose marijuana over alcohol, it is likely the health care system would become LESS burdened. As U.S. DEA Administrative Law Judge Francis L. Young said, "Marijuana is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man."

Here's a quote from a background paper for a W.H.O. (World Health Association) document entitled "Cannabis: a health perspective and research agenda":

"On existing patterns of use, cannabis poses a much less serious public health problem than is currently posed by alcohol and tobacco in Western societies."

The current prohibition of marijuana has little or no effect on consumption rates. People who are interested in trying it are highly unlikely to be dissuaded by the laws. Marijuana affects people differently. To some it is a very enjoyable experience, but to others it may be an uncomfortable one. Personal experience has much more to do with whether or not someone will become a marijuana smoker, not its legal status.

The harms associated with marijuana are not the result of anything inherent in marijuana, but rather the result of prohibition. Making pot illegal inflates the price to be literally worth it's weight in gold. As long as marijuana remains in the illegal market it will attract organized crime due to the huge profits that are possible. If the government really wanted to solve this problem they acknowledge that people will continue to consume marijuana and would allow people to cultivate a few plants for their own personal use. The market for commercially produced marijuana would fall away if people were self-sufficient and organized crime would no longer find marijuana desirable as a commodity. Legalizing and regulating marijuana would enable quality control, credible education, and age controls.

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