Canadian drug legislation a mistake

To the Daily:

Your article Canada Poised to Ease Drug Possession Laws (06/09/03) sent tidal waves of disapproval through U.S. drug prevention groups and professional prevention and treatment experts. In fact, we are in the midst of planning a peaceful protest demonstration at the Canadian Embassy. After 27 years of fighting against decriminalization, closing drug paraphernalia shops, trying to rescue teens whose lives are forever broken from drug use, which usually started with marijuana, we are appalled that our Canadian friends have been taken in by the same pro-pot legalizers who have damaged our country’s children.

The Washington Post said several years ago, “In theory, it was a thoughtful idea, in practice, it was a disaster.” Common sense should tell your legislators that relaxing possession penalties will encourage more use. Cracking down on growers and distributors will have little effect as demand for the “weed” increases – since there’s little risk involved.

It’s the user who has to stop increasing the demand! During a recent election, the mantra for the opposing party repeatedly was a phrase, “It’s the economy, Stupid!” Well, now the mantra will become, “It’s the user, Stupid!” Canada should leave her pot laws alone. Don’t let your national anthem, “Oh Canada” become “Oh Cannabis!”

I have met with senior staff of the Canadian ambassador to the United States. I gave them exhibits, a film depicting who the legalizers are and told them of our experience in the United States. Alaska was the failed experiment for decriminalization here. After Alaska decriminalized, the state university reported that their research revealed drug use among Alaska’s young people was twice that of the remaining states. Parents organized and, after a long struggle, they recriminalized pot. Learn from their experience – don’t repeat it!

A survey by a university in Georgia revealed that students who did not use said their main reason was they “did not want to get arrested!” Tough laws are a deterrent.

Grandparents need to speak out, get out and vote and make your voices heard. Our generation is the last one that understands “Life can be wonderful – without being stoned.” Speak out for your grandchildren – and all the children of the United States and Canada!

Joyce Nalepka

The writer served as president of Nancy Reagan’s National Federation of Parents during the Reagan administration.

Palestinian terrorists must be stopped

To the Daily:

After the recent suicide bombings, it has become apparent to many that the Bush administration’s goal of two states by 2005 will not be attained. It is impossible for the principals to negotiate while this cycle of violence rages on. One solution may be to “pause” the peace process every time there is such an attack. “Play” would begin again only after a reasonable cooling off period. This solution would not have been acceptable by President Clinton because he was overzealous, but this may work for President Bush.

In response to those who argue that Israel provoked this most recent attack by targeting members of Hamas, I would argue that Hamas is a terrorist organization and has been labeled as such in a speech by Bush. Bush, in a speech immediately following 9/11, stated that no terrorist organization is safe and that the United States will kill any terrorist and reprimand any country supporting or harboring terrorists. Therefore, if the United States wants to have a coherent policy on terror, then it should never condemn the targeting of terrorists by another country, especially terrorists labeled as such by the president of the United States. In order for Bush to condemn this attack and at the same time maintain a uniform stance on terror, Hamas should not have been labeled a terrorist group. Of course, it is a terror group, so there is really no way of keeping within the spirit of the post-9/11 speech and rebuking Israel for targeting terrorists.

The United States should reprimand Prime Minister Abbas for not putting more pressure on the militant groups living in Palestinian-controlled territories. There is enough of a paper trail that has been discovered in the past, which illustrates the link between the Palestinian Authority and these militant groups. It is important to remember that this link is why Bush refuses to deal with Yasser Arafat. If the prime minister wants to establish credibility as someone who can truly bring peace to the region, then he needs to be able to clamp down on those militants.

Further, the United States should not allow Hamas to be a part of the peace process. As they are a terrorist group, why should they be consulted on the peace process? They had been consulted after the Aqaba summit, and this recent violence may be linked with Hamas’s refusal to support peace. Its goal is the destruction of the Jewish state of Israel, and if it were to argue in favor of peace, it is solely because it is seen as a first step toward that goal. No militant group should be consulted on the peace process by Abbas. Suicide bombers are irrational people, and those who support them are irrational by extension, so there is no reason why an irrational opinion should be brought into the process.

The War on Terror is going to be a war that never ends. But it is one that needs to be fought by all nations.

Aaron Cutler

Law school

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