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Mailbag Feb 7, 2013 

These are the letters and comments from the print edition

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Let's not screw it up
I heard a presentation about Toronto's Regent Park revitalization project last year and it brought tears to my eyes ("Gottingen Terrace back from the dead," Reality Bites by Chris Benjamin, January 31). The planners thought of everything! They were even instrumental in bringing new business into the community so that people could have jobs within walking distance of their homes.

Also, the quality of the architecture is very high in Regent Park. PLEASE let the city/province demand a similarly high level of design for Gottingen Terrace as well, and good, durable, high-quality materials. This is a chance to build an entire city block from scratch, fill in that terrible hole on Gottingen and really change the area to a good-looking, economically inclusive urban neighbourhood. Let's not screw it up.

Gottingen Terrace has the potential to create the same kind of community, and with the Carrot Co-Op grocery store going into to the area soon and Ships Start Here, the timing couldn't be better. Bring it on! —posted by krhigney at

Smoke signals
As long as pot is illegal, drug busts are good for marijuana users ("Reefer sadness," Feature by Tim Bousquet, January 31). Sellers get caught because they are greedy, careless or incompetent. The ones who are caught often sell other drugs and have weapons.

The police do us a favour by removing such people from the business. Imagine if there was a police force who eliminated greedy and incompetent dentists, automobile dealers, roofers and stockbrokers. What a wonderful world.

The next time you hear of a drug bust, write a letter of thanks to your local police chief. The criminalization of pot attracts some unsavoury characters and the police help keep the business safe for the rest of us.

Drug busts have a negligible effect on supply---similar to if groceries were illegal and the cops closed the No Frills on Wyse for a couple of weeks. If consumer anti-pot laws were rewritten to reflect current practice they would read: You can purchase and use it as long as you use discretion. Discretion is not a particularly onerous condition.

Continued criminalization is crucial for dealers. Legalization would take away their livelihoods.

The advantages for consumers include no government interference with supply or quality, the above-mentioned policing, and some services (product choice, home delivery) which may not be available when it is finally legalized.

Criminalization, which dealers require and consumers can easily maneuver around, creates the illogical situation where the laws seem to be written for those who neither sell nor consume marijuana.

As a consumer for more than 40 years, the current system seems to work quite well. As a taxpayer, of course, I am outraged by the colossal waste of public money spent on enforcement and the unavailability of the stratosphereic amounts of new tax revenue which could accompany legalization. —A senior citizen, Halifax

There are two prevalent views on marijuana legal use. "Face it, it's inevitable," as I quoted the panel of the LeDain Commission for The Ansul in the paper in 1968. Or as my former roommate, the late Dr. David Rippey, an exception third-year medical student, told me that same year before he went on to create the best para-medical emergency service in the world in NS with Dr. Ron Stewart: marijuana effects the brain in loss of memory, debases social skills, impairs judgment and reduces reaction impulse.

They're both correct, but the curative effects of the drug weren't evident to even the Scientific American he read regularly. Somehow driving risks, personal choices that effect society's well-being (would you want a pilot or surgeon high on dope before they did their job? Or drunk for that matter?) are now in play, with personal "fulfilment" and bad science misinterpreted as truth.

The winner is still in doubt but punishment isn't the answer. —Bill Jordan, Halifax

Yeah right, change will come! Let it come everywhere else first, then 20 years later, Nova Scotia will get that change as well. It's how things are done here. —posted by Brandon Wilcox


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