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  • (24 December '05)


    C.S.S. Alabama
    Bruno Duclos found the wreck

    The economic impact of the commerce raiders was significant, so much so that historian Philip Van Doren Stern considers James Bulloch's contribution to the Confederacy second only to that of Robert E. Lee. The Alabama and her fellow commerce raiders destroyed many millions of dollars worth of American merchant ships, diverted numerous Union naval ships from the blockade of Confederate harbors, nearly destroyed the American merchant marine (which never again recovered the world dominance it had enjoyed before the Civil War), and inflated American maritime insurance rates to such an extent as to drive more than one New England shipowner into bankruptcy. The idea of this potential for naval power was early drummed into young Theodore Roosevelt. As he wrote: "From my earliest recollection I have been fed on tales of the sea and of ships. My mother's ... deep interest in the Southern cause and her brother's calling led her to talk to me as a little shaver about ships, ships, ships, and fighting of ships, till they sank into the depths of my soul. And when I first began to think, in any independent and consecutive order ... I began to write a history of the Naval War of 1812."(from this website:

    Early world government event was this international arbitration after U.S. civil war:

    ... He was searching for a suitable venue for the 1985 Reagan/Gorbachev Summit when he discovered the Alabama Room at the Geneva City Hall.

    In 1872, the Alabama Room was the stage for the first international arbitration tribunal in history, which awarded the United States-still angry that many Confederate warships had been built in British shipyards-$15.5 million in gold as compensation for Britain's apparent violation of laws of neutrality.

    This is from this website about the excavation of the wreck of the C.S.S. Alabama off the coast of Cherbourg, France. Here's a great historical account of these CSA "commerce-raider" ships that sailed all around the world over and over again sinking Yankee trader ships in every corner of the world.

    The Trent Affair. It also states that England almost declared war on the U.S. as two Confederate officials, John Siddell and James Mason, were traveling to Europe on a British steamer, the Trent, on unstated business when they were detained near Cuba by a Union ship. It states that Pres. Lincoln was threatened with war by the British is he didn't let them go. Lincoln backed down stating that one war at a time was enough. (This is the first real evidence I've ever seen that supports the theory that England was seriously considering war with the U.S. in the civil war. The fact that C.S.A. Sec. of War and Attorney General Judah P. Benjamin fled to England after the war and became counselor to Queen Victoria is also suspicious since he had been a practicing U.S. lawyer in the South and is said to have "run the Confederacy" at times as second in command to Pres. Jefferson Davis.)

    Despite the fame the C.S.S. Alabama gave to the State with that name, the State of Alabama had barely developed its ante-bellum infrastructure when the civil war broke out, having been somewhat contested Native American and settler territory before entering the Union in 1819, though intermarriages were fairly common. The commander of the C.S.S. Alabama was a former U.S. Naval officer based in Mobile named Raphael Semmes.

    Cotton fabric was once one of the most expensive fabrics in the world. Due to the extreme difficulty of removing the seeds from "cotton bolls" by hand, the quantity of cotton that could be produced was very limited. Expert slaves were utilized to painstakingly remove the zillions of tiny little seeds from each boll of cotton individually before cotton yarn could be spun. Cotton shirts, before the invention of the cotton gin, cost $50-$100 in gold (about $500 - $1000 in today's money)(Herer). Cotton gin history.

    That's why the South was so rich for a while. After the cotton gin was invented, prices of cotton goods fell from about 1800 until about 1860, but cotton clothing was still in heavy demand all over the world. Britain was the main producer of cotton clothing but New England was catching up.

    The extreme popularity of cotton, due to its "high fashion" prestiege and high price, led to the demise of hemp fabric after the cotton gin was invented, and everybody could afford cotton. In other words, where hemp had been the cloth for the poor, when cotton became as cheap as hemp (or cheaper), the poor stopped using hemp fabric and started using cotton. Interestingly, silk articles were much cheaper than cotton in 1800.

    Hemp fiber in early times required much manual labor to produce, and the technology to make hemp as cheaply as cotton has only been developed in the mid 20th century, according to Jack Herer. The switch from hemp to cotton fiber as the main fiber in use by most people between 1800 and 1860 was not a conspiracy, but occurred due to the predominant demand for cotton, its declining price, and easy availability. Hemp continued to be the main raw material for paper, rope, twine, and applications requiring very strong fibers such as parachutes until other materials were substituted such as tree pulp for paper or nylon for making rope.

  • Psychoactive substance use and the risk of motor vehicle accidents.

    Movig KL, Mathijssen MP, Nagel PH, Van Egmond T, De Gier JJ, Leufkens HG, Egberts AC.
    SWOV Institute for Road Safety Research, Leidschendam, The Netherlands.

    The driving performance is easily impaired as a consequence of the use of alcohol and/or licit and illicit drugs. However, the role of drugs other than alcohol in motor vehicle accidents has not been well established. The objective of this study was to estimate the association between psychoactive drug use and motor vehicle accidents requiring hospitalisation. A prospective observational case-control study was conducted in the Tilburg region of The Netherlands from May 2000 to August 2001. Cases were car or van drivers involved in road crashes needing hospitalisation. Demographic and trauma related data was collected from hospital and ambulance records. Urine and/or blood samples were collected on admission. Controls were drivers recruited at random while driving on public roads. Sampling was conducted by researchers, in close collaboration with the Tilburg police, covering different days of the week and times of the day. Respondents were interviewed and asked for a urine sample. If no urine sample could be collected, a blood sample was requested. All blood and urine samples were tested for alcohol and a number of licit and illicit drugs. The main outcome measures were odds ratios (OR) for injury crash associated with single or multiple use of several drugs by drivers. The risk for road trauma was increased for single use of benzodiazepines (adjusted OR 5.1 (95% Cl: 1.8-14.0)) and alcohol (blood alcohol concentrations of 0.50-0.79g/l, adjusted OR 5.5 (95% Cl: 1.3-23.2) and >/=0.8g/l, adjusted OR 15.5 (95% Cl: 7.1-33.9)). High relative risks were estimated for drivers using combinations of drugs (adjusted OR 6.1 (95% Cl: 2.6-14.1)) and those using a combination of drugs and alcohol (OR 112.2 (95% Cl: 14.1-892)). Increased risks, although not statistically significantly, were assessed for drivers using amphetamines, cocaine, or opiates. No increased risk for road trauma was found for drivers exposed to cannabis. The study concludes that drug use, especially alcohol, benzodiazepines and multiple drug use and drug-alcohol combinations, among vehicle drivers increases the risk for a road trauma accident requiring hospitalisation. PMID: 15094417 [PubMed - in process]

    Guess what? 17 times 3 equals 51! So 51 stars can probably be arranged symmetrically on a United States flag without any trouble at all.

    Here are 51 stars arranged symmetrically. To skip to a 52 star arangement, click here. For 53 stars, click here.

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    Any mathematical geniuses out there who have better arrangements, please email me, and I'll post your arrangement here.

    Here's how 52 stars arranged symmetrically might look:

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    Back to top.

    Any mathematical geniuses out there who have better arrangements, please email me.

    A 53rd star could be placed below where the bolder star is located, directly in the middle of the pattern. This makes the middle line out of sync with any other lines, but at least it looks fairly symmetrical.

    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *
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    Any mathematical geniuses out there who have better arrangements, please email me. None of these diagrams has been properly spaced, so the actual flag pattern would be much better looking than these schematic arrangements.

    Top of Article.

    NOTE: John Conroy informed the NORML Canada web maintainer some time ago that he was not actively maintaining email correspondence. To contact John, please telephone or write his office. John has always returned my calls, although the phone company seems to route all incoming calls to me from John to my voice mail rather than to the cell phone itself, so I have to call back to actually speak to him.
    Subject: Canadian Supreme Court ruling
    Date: Thu, 5 Feb 2004 18:42:10 -0800

    Dear Sir,  

    I have read some of your web site with interest. I am a Canadian citizen living in Washington state. I have been following the Canadian cannabis struggle and particularly the recent Supreme Court decision, which appeared to affirm the 'constitutionality' of cannabis prohibition. However I believe the cases in question were fought on the wrong grounds, and I am wondering why section 7 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms was chosen as protection for cannabis use, rather than section 2(b), which guarantees freedom of thought, as well as of belief, opinion and _expression. I wrote an email to Mr. Conroy along this line some time before the arguments were made in 2002, but received no reply. I believe section 2(b) remains a viable defense, particularly since the Supreme Court stated that cannabis is used for the purpose of alteration of mental function, i.e. for the purpose of thought. After the decision I again wrote to Mr. Conroy and even telephoned his office, but again received no reply. I understand following the decision he is now working on sentencing rather than on trying to fight the prohibition itself. It still puzzles me why section 2(b) has not been used in a defense; the only reason I can think is that the defendants in the Supreme Court cases were afraid to get into that section because freedom of 'thought' seems so airy that it is almost a given - how can any law infringe on someone's thought? But that is precisely what cannabis prohibition does. Possibly the defendants were afraid to get into the subject of 'thought' at all, because of the 'mental' stigma attached to cannabis use by the prohibitionist regime.  

    I am not a lawyer, but I have written a defense against a cannabis possession charge on the grounds of section 2(b), and I found case precedents which indicate a 2(b) defense would require the court to consider section 1, which was not required in the recent cases. Since it must be almost self-evident that cannabis prohibition infringes freedom of thought, the requirement to consider section 1 would put the government in the position of having to show a 'pressing and substantial' need for cannabis prohibition, and a law that was reasonable and demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society. I do not believe it could pass these tests.  

    I have no interest in payment; my interest is only to get prohibition ended in Canada at least.  

    Yours truly,

    David G.

    To: Bill Carroll(NORML Canada web)
    Subject: Re: Canadian Supreme Court ruling
    Date: Sat, 7 Feb 2004 10:19:29 -0800

    Dear Mr. Carroll,

    Feel free to post my letter, and in addition I am enclosing as part of this email the entire defense against a cannabis possession charge, using the grounds of section 2(b) of the Charter, which I wrote. As I said, I am not a lawyer but I believe a lawyer would be able to use it and probably find other cases to add to the defense. The cases I quote are from the Supreme Court of Canada web site. There is also a guide to the Charter on the internet which states that the section 2 freedoms are "set out in the Charter to ensure that Canadians are free to create and to express their ideas . . . ." Although it is not a legal document it gives indication as to what freedom of thought means: freedom to create ideas. I don't remember exactly how I got to the web site but the guide is by: The Human Rights Program, Citizens' Participation Directorate, Department of Canadian Heritage, Hull, Québec K1A 0M5, Telephone: (819) 994-3458, Fax: (819) 994-5252.

    I hope you can use this or pass it on to someone who can:

    1. Prohibiting possession of cannabis for private personal use under s. 1, Schedule II, Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, S.C. 1996, c. 19, infringes freedom of thought which is guaranteed by s. 2 (b) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and this infringement is neither reasonable nor demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society as required by section 1 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

    2. In R. v. Malmo-Levine; R. v. Caine (2003) SCC 074, the Supreme Court held that use of cannabis causes alteration of mental function and in those cases, that alteration of mental function is the purpose for which cannabis is used. Mental function requires continuous change in cerebral and other bodily electric waves. Alteration in cerebral and other bodily electric waves is essential and integral to mental function. Therefore mental function itself causes alteration of mental function.

    3. Section 2 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms states:

    Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms:

    (a) freedom of conscience and religion;
    (b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication;
    (c) freedom of peaceful assembly; and
    (d) freedom of association.

    'Thought' is a unique freedom established in and by the Charter, and its free exercise is guaranteed by the Charter.

    4. There appears to be no guiding legal authority as to the definition of 'thought'. Common usages of the word 'thought' can be found in various dictionaries. Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913) defines 'thought' in the following ways (among others): -The act of thinking; the exercise of the mind in any of its higher forms; reflection; cogitation. -Meditation; serious consideration. -That which is thought; an idea; a mental conception, whether an opinion, judgment, fancy, purpose, or intention.

    5. The noun, 'thought', is derived from the verb, 'think', which is defined by the same dictionary as follows (among others): -Judge or regard; look upon; judge. -Expect, believe, or suppose. -Use or exercise the mind or one' s power of reason in order to make inferences, decisions, or arrive at a solution or judgments. -Recall from memory; have a recollection. -Imagine or visualize. -Focus one's attention on a certain state. -Have in mind as a purpose. -Decide by pondering, reasoning, or reflecting. -Ponder, reflect on, or reason about. -Dispose the mind in a certain way. -Have or formulate in the mind. -Be capable of conscious thought. -Bring into a given condition by mental preoccupation.

    6. There appears to be no guiding legal authority as to the definition of 'mental function'. Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913) defines ' mental' as 'of or pertaining to the mind; intellectual; as, mental faculties; mental operations, conditions, or exercise.' And 'mind' is defined there as: - The intellectual or rational faculty in man; the understanding; the intellect; the power that conceives, judges, or reasons; also, the entire spiritual nature; the soul; -- often in distinction from the body. - The state, at any given time, of the faculties of thinking, willing, choosing, and the like; psychical activity or state; as: (a) Opinion; judgment; belief. (b) Choice; inclination; liking; intent; will. (c) Courage; spirit. - Memory; remembrance; recollection; as, to have or keep in mind, to call to mind, to put in mind, etc.

    7. Both 'mental function' and 'thought' can be identified as the same changing cerebral electric waves. Alteration, or change, is the essence of 'mental function', and of 'thought'. To say that cannabis alters mental function is to say nothing more than that cannabis changes the thought of an individual. If this change results in a particular observable underlying pattern of cerebral electric waves different from its equivalent without cannabis use, the purpose for which cannabis is used might be described as to achieve a particular underlying pattern of cerebral electric waves, or ' state' of brain wave activity. Other bodily electric waves alter cerebral electric waves, and vice versa. All bodily functions are functions of electric waves.

    8. It is clear from the above usages that 'thought' and 'mental function' are integrally connected, most clearly by the adjacency of 'the act of thinking' and 'the exercise of the mind in any of its higher forms' as the first definition of 'thought'. The word 'mind' appears in the definition of thought both in the active sense (e.g. 'the exercise of the mind') and in the passive sense (e.g. 'a mental conception'), and the word 'thinking' appears in the definition of 'mind'. In almost all the alternative definitions of 'thought' and 'mental function' the intent is very similar if not expressed identically, with few distinctions. That the differences between 'mind' and 'think' are small is indicated by the dictionary's description of their roots. The root of the word 'mind' is traced to the Sanskrit 'man', to think; and the word 'think' is traced to Old Latin(?) 'tongere', to know. It can be no coincidence that the Sanskrit word 'man', defined by the word whose Latin root involves thought, is identical to the modern English word 'man', whose roots are also traced to the Sanskrit words 'manu', 'manus', and ultimately (though with reservation by the dictionary authority) to the Sanskrit word 'man': to think. The human characteristic that separates us from all other natural creations is our ability to think. The Biblical creation story tells of the moment of the rise of the human race: the eating of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, which in view of recent archeological discoveries is quite likely the cannabis plant. (In Webster's Online Dictionary, 'psychoactive' is defined as 'affecting the mind or mood or other mental processes; those drugs which alter sensation, mood, consciousness or other psychological or behavioral functions'. By that definition, all food is 'psychoactive', since without food an individual loses consciousness.)

    9. The similarities between the usages of 'think' and 'mind' are such that any perceived difference can be said to be due to their different roots in different regions and the usages attached to those roots over time. Mental function can be said to be the act of thinking. Alteration of mental function can also be said to be the act of thinking. If a distinction is made between mental function and thought, it remains that mental function, or psychic activity, gives rise to thought; and altered mental function also gives rise to thought.

    10. Section 1 of the Charter states as follows:

    The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees the rights and freedoms set out in it subject only to such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society.

    11. Cannabis use produces thought of a kind that is not produced without its use. Cannabis prohibition has the effect of prohibiting a kind of thought, namely that thought produced by the use of cannabis.

    12. Because they are of such fundamental importance to the existence of a free and democratic society, the freedoms guaranteed by section 2 (b) can be infringed only when the infringement can be justified according to section 1 of the Charter. In Ford v. Quebec (Attorney-General) [1988] 2 S.C.R. 712, The Court stated:

    [755-756] The issue . . . is not whether the guarantee of freedom of expression . . . should be construed as extending to particular categories of expression, giving rise to difficult definitional problems, but whether there is any reason why the guarantee should not extend to a particular kind of expression . . . .

    In light of this, a question as to whether section 2(b) protects the free exercise of thought by cannabis use, or protects the thought created by cannabis use, which is infringed by cannabis prohibition, becomes a question as to whether there is any reason why the guarantee of freedom of thought should not include the particular prohibited exercise or thought.

    13. In R. v. Keegstra, [1990] 3 S.C.R. 697, with regard to the freedom of expression guaranteed by section 2(b), the Court stated that a "large and liberal" interpretation is given to section 2(b), and that this interpretation indicates that:

    [699] It is inappropriate to attenuate the s. 2(b) freedom on the grounds that a particular context so requires. The large and liberal interpretation given to freedom of expression indicates that the preferable course is to weigh the various contextual values and factors in s. 1 of the Charter. . . . This section both guarantees and limits Charter rights and freedoms by reference to principles fundamental in a free and democratic society.

    14. In R. v. Big M Drug Mart Ltd., [1985] 1 S.C.R. 295, Dickson J. (as he then was) states as follows:

    [337] Freedom in a broad sense embraces both the absence of coercion and constraint, and the right to manifest beliefs and practices. Freedom means that, subject to such limitations as are necessary to protect public safety, order, health, or morals or the fundamental rights and freedoms of others, no one is to be forced to act in a way contrary to his beliefs or his conscience.

    In judging infringement on the freedom of thought guaranteed in section 2(b) of the Charter, in view of the fundamental importance of those freedoms in a free and democratic society, any constraint on cannabis use as a practice in the free exercise of thought must be limited to the instances when this use threatens public safety, order, health, morals, or the fundamental rights and freedoms of others.

    15. The use of cannabis is a practice by which the guaranteed freedom of thought is exercised; the blanket prohibition of its possession is an unlimited constraint on that practice since the cannabis user must possess cannabis in order to use it in the free exercise of thought. The use of cannabis to create thought, or the free exercise of thought by the use of cannabis, is a practice within the guarantee of section 2 (b); and cannabis prohibition, as an unlimited constraint on this practice, must be weighed in light of the values and factors in section 1 of the Charter.

    16. Similarly, the purpose of the guarantee of freedom of thought in section 2(b) should be examined in light of those same values and factors. In R. v. Big M Drug Mart Ltd, above Dickson J. (as he then was) stated:

    [344] The meaning of a right or freedom guaranteed by the Charter was to be ascertained by an analysis of the purpose of such a guarantee; it was to be understood, in other words, in the light of the interests it was meant to protect.

    In my view this analysis is to be undertaken, and the purpose of the right or freedom in question is to be sought by reference to the character and the larger objects of the Charter itself, to the language chosen to articulate the specific right or freedom, to the historical origins of the concepts enshrined, and where applicable, to the meaning and purpose of the other specific rights and freedoms....

    To identify the underlying purpose of the Charter right in question, therefore, it is important to begin by understanding the cardinal values it embodies.

    17. Human thought is a miraculous gift, simultaneously powerful and fragile, immense and delicate, from which all purposeful human activity flows and on which human survival and growth depends. Thought is the origin of the belief, opinion and expression whose free exercise is also guaranteed by section 2(b) of the Charter. In addition to thought being the essential precursor and interpreter of human speech, complex thought is the power that separates humans from all other creatures. The effect of the free exercise of thought, whether in pursuit of knowledge and understanding or in pursuit of any creative mental or physical activity, is individual health in the sense of wholeness. The greatest possible diversity of thought, perception, insight, etc. must be available to the widest possible human audience if the wisest possible decisions are to be made collectively as the future paths of human societies. If growth is the creation of new systems out of old, a human society can never cease to grow or to seek to grow. Human growth to continue requires that every means or avenue of creative human thought must be available to all people. That is why history to this point has blessed those societies which are the most open to the creative instincts embodied in human thought. If there is a hope for the human race on Earth, it is that a creative global human society, dedicated to encouraging creative thought, will emerge from the morass of conflicting selfish interests that characterizes current relations between national jurisdictions. In growth toward such a human society, diversity of thought is the interest that the guarantee of free exercise of thought is meant to protect. Among the cardinal values provided for guidance by Dickson J. in R. v. Oakes [1986] 1 S.C.R. 103 (below in paragraph 20), namely respect for the inherent dignity of the human person, commitment to social justice and equality, accommodatio n of a wide variety of beliefs, respect for cultural and group identity, and faith in social and political institutions which enhance the participation of individuals and groups in society, it is difficult to find any value not embodied in freedom of thought. And in turn it is difficult to see any of these values as other than the embodiment of free exercise of thought; values such as these cannot emerge with free exercise of thought. Free exercise of thought and free and a democratic society are integral to each other; they cannot exist separately or one without the other. A society without free exercise of thought is not free and democratic. It follows that at present Canada is not a free and democratic society.

    18. The historical origins of the guarantee of freedom of thought appear to be the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, copied into the Charter. There appears to be no previous case in which an infringement on the guaranteed freedom of thought was alleged. Human thought is so personal, private and closely held that it is difficult to imagine a situation in which free exercise of thought could be directly impaired by an act of government, but cannabis prohibition is such an infringement. In this regard, the maturing of human thought as related in the Biblical chapter of Genesis may be significant. The opening of the human eyes to awareness of knowledge of good and evil in the garden of Eden is an account of the birth of human moral awareness. In view of recent research, it becomes likely that the tree of knowledge of good and evil was cannabis. Then cannabis may well be the source of human moral awareness. Cannabis was an ingredient in the holy anointing oil of Moses, and anointed his tabernacle. Alone among the controlled drugs and substances and among legal drugs including alcohol and tobacco, cannabis is a substance which does no long term harm to an otherwise healthy person; cannabis stimulates both thought and activity, and improves health; yet in spite of its obvious value and the increasing and wide use and acceptance of cannabis, the state seeks to control the use of this substance by a blanket prohibition, justifying a blanket prohibition by the need to protect a small minority of Canadians, i.e. for 'public health and safety' reasons, when all evidence shows that prohibition increases the harm to public health and safety. The obvious conclusion is that prohibition of cannabis is an attempt by the state to deter the thought which cannabis produces, on behalf of those whose interest is to control and limit thought for their private benefit. As Adolf Hitler, dictator of Germany, is reported as saying, "How fortunate it is for governments that the people they administer do not think."

    19. Cannabis use is not simply an individual exercise of free thought; it is also an exercise of freedom from thought that is coerced and manipulated for private profit. Hitler is also reported as saying, "Why nationalize industry when you can nationalize the people?" Coercion of the people's thought is nothing less than nationalization of the people. At the same time that human thought is characterized by unparalleled creative power, it is also a fragile exercise since although the physical system for thought is inborn, its physical growth is influenced by the environment in which it grows, and the paths by which images are transmitted, received, stored and retransmitted in the cerebral system are influenced both by the cerebral system itself, by external sense organs, and by the external environment which transmits signals to those organs. Thought is subject to manipulation of images, and today such manipulation is practiced on an enormous scale for private profit. The individual may be free to avoid, ignore or rebut manipulated images, but in society the individual is continually confronted by them and by those who believe them; and the individual is not free to avoid persecution due to societal ignorance created and maintained by manipulated images. For example, systematic thought manipulation has been occurring systematically in Canada in the 75 years' media campaign against cannabis. Thought manipulation for the purpose of promoting consumption, regardless of its effect on the health of its citizens, is an integral and necessary part of Canada's economic system. A free and democratic, let alone creative, society cannot exist if citizens do not have freedom to choose to pursue and receive knowledge and understanding by whatever means they choose, and it is ultimately this pursuit of knowledge and understanding that draws many individuals to the use of cannabis in free exercise of thought, in spite of prohibition. Cannabis is a medium for thought; so is a computer; so is the internet; so is a newspaper; so are our eyes and ears. The pursuit of knowledge and understanding by free exercise of thought is impaired when the medium for thought is prohibited. Whether or not the purpose of cannabis prohibition is to coerce thought so that only approved, 'nationalized' thought is permitted, the blanket prohibition on cannabis use is a gross infringement on the free thought and therefore on the free choice, of a free and democratic society. Protection against dictatorship by coerced thought, promotion of a wide variety of opinions and beliefs, maintenance of societal health and ultimately human growth and survival are some of the "cardinal values" embodied in the guarantee of freedom of thought. Freedom to use cannabis in exercise of free thought is essential in promoting these cardinal values in a free and democratic society. The blanket prohibition on cannabis use is detrimental to these values.

    20. In R. v. Oakes, [1986] 1 SCR 103, the Court stated:

    [105-6] Section 1 of the Charter has two functions: First, it guarantees the rights and freedoms set out in the provisions which follow it; and second, it states explicitly the exclusive justificatory criteria (outside of s. 33 of the Constitutional Act, 1982) against which limitations on those rights and freedoms may be measured.

    The onus of proving that a limitation on any Charter right is reasonable and demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society rests upon the party seeking to uphold the limitation. Limits on constitutionally guaranteed rights are clearly exceptions to the general guarantee. The presumption is that Charter rights are guaranteed unless the party invoking s. 1 can bring itself within the exceptional criteria justifying their being limited. ..

    Two central criteria must be satisfied to establish that a limit is reasonable and demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society. First, the objective to be served by the measures limiting a Charter right must be sufficiently important to warrant overriding a constitutionally protected right or freedom. The standard must be high to ensure that trivial objectives or those discordant with the principles of a free and democratic society do not gain protection. At a minimum, an objective must relate to societal concerns which are pressing and substantial in a free and democratic society before it can characterized as sufficiently important. Second, the party invoking s. 1 must show the means to be reasonable and demonstrably justified. This involves a form of proportionality test involving three important components. To begin, the measures must be fair and not arbitrary, carefully designed to achieve the objective in question and rationally connected to that objective. In addition, the means should impair the right in question as little as possible. Lastly, there must be a proportionality between the effects of the limiting measure and the objective -- the more severe the deleterious effects of a measure, the more important the objective must be."

    Further in R. v. Oakes, Dickson C.J. stated:

    [135-6] It is important to observe at the outset that s. 1 has two functions: first, it constitutionally guarantees the rights and freedoms set out in the provisions which follow; and, second, it states explicitly the exclusive justificatory criteria (outside of s. 33 of the Constitution Act, 1982) against which limitations on those rights and freedoms must be measured. Accordingly, any s. 1 inquiry must be premised on an understanding that the impugned limit violates constitutional rights and freedoms--rights and freedoms which are part of the supreme law of Canada. . . .

    A second contextual element of interpretation of s. 1 is provided by the words "free and democratic society". Inclusion of these words as the final standard of justification for limits on rights and freedoms refers the Court to the very purpose for which the Charter was originally entrenched in the Constitution: Canadian society is to be free and democratic. The Court must be guided by the values and principles essential to a free and democratic society which I believe embody, to name but a few, respect for the inherent dignity of the human person, commitment to social justice and equality, accommodation of a wide variety of beliefs, respect for cultural and group identity, and faith in social and political institutions which enhance the participation of individuals and groups in society. The underlying values and principles of a free and democratic society are the genesis of the rights and freedoms guaranteed by the Charter and the ultimate standard against which a limit on a right or freedom must be shown, despite its effect, to be reasonable and demonstrably justified. . . .

    [139-40] There are, in my view, three important components of a proportionality test. First, the measures adopted must be carefully designed to achieve the objective in question. They must not be arbitrary, unfair or based on irrational considerations. In short, they must be rationally connected to the objective. Second, the means, even if rationally connected to the objective in this first sense, should impair "as little as possible" the right or freedom in question: R. v. Big M Drug Mart Ltd., supra, at p. 352. Third, there must be a proportionality between the effects of the measures which are responsible for limiting the Charter right or freedom, and the objective which has been identified as of "sufficient importance".

    With respect to the third component, it is clear that the general effect of any measure impugned under s. 1 will be the infringement of a right or freedom guaranteed by the Charter; this is the reason why resort to s. 1 is necessary. The inquiry into effects must, however, go further. A wide range of rights and freedoms are guaranteed by the Charter, and an almost infinite number of factual situations may arise in respect of these. Some limits on rights and freedoms protected by the Charter will be more serious than others in terms of the nature of the right or freedom violated, the extent of the violation, and the degree to which the measures which impose the limit trench upon the integral principles of a free and democratic society. Even if an objective is of sufficient importance, and the first two elements of the proportionality test are satisfied, it is still possible that, because of the severity of the deleterious effects of a measure on individuals or groups, the measure will not be justified by the purposes it is intended to serve. The more severe the deleterious effects of a measure, the more important the objective must be if the measure is to be reasonable and demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society.

    21. In R. v. Malmo-Levine; R. v. Caine, 2003 S.C.C. 074, the Court held as follows:

    All sides agree that marihuana is a psychoactive drug which "causes alteration of mental function". That, indeed, is the purpose for which the appellants use it. There are concurrent findings in the courts below of "harm" that is neither insignificant nor trivial. Certain groups in society share a particular vulnerability to its effects. While members of these groups, whose identity cannot in general be distinguished from other users in advance, are relatively small as a percentage of all marihuana users, their numbers are significant in absolute terms. . . . Advancing the protection of these and other vulnerable individuals through criminalization of the possession of marihuana is a policy choice that falls within the broad legislative scope conferred on Parliament. . . . The questions before the Court are . . . whether the prohibition, including the availability of imprisonment for simple possession, is not valid legislation, either because it does not properly fall within Parliament's legislative competence, or because the prohibition, and in particular the availability of imprisonment, violate the guarantees of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

    22. The Court found in R. v. Malmo-Levine; R. v. Caine that the prohibition of cannabis did not infringe on protected Charter rights, which had formed part of the argument by the appellant. However the appellant did not appeal on the grounds of an infringement of section 2 (b) of the Charter, and in that case the Court was not compelled to consider the effect of cannabis prohibition as such an infringement. The Court found that criminalization of cannabis possession is a valid exercise of power for the purpose of protecting public health and safety, and does not violate the applicable guarantees of the Charter. The finding that cannabis prohibition has as its purpose the protection of public health and safety is relevant in the context of a section 2(b) infringement, but the finding that other Charter freedoms were not infringed is not relevant in this context. The question of whether the infringement of freedom of thought protected by section 2(b) is reasonable and demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society was neither asked nor answered in that case.

    23. In view of the direction provided by R. v. Oakes above, the law enacted for the purpose of protection of public health and safety which impairs freedom of thought must be rationally connected to its purpose by careful design, not arbitrary or unfair, to achieve this purpose; the freedom of thought which it impairs must be impaired as little as possible; its effect must not be harmful to society to an extent that outweighs the importance of its purpose; and the law must address a concern which is pressing and substantial in view of the values and principles of a free and democratic society which form the source of the freedom of thought which is impaired.

    Rational Connection to Purpose; Care in Design, Fairness, Arbitrariness

    24. The Controlled Drugs and Substances Act 1996, c. 19 has no statement of purpose other than that it is an act . . . respecting the control of certain drugs, their precursors and other substances and to amend certain other Acts and repeal the Narcotic Control Act in consequence thereof

    The Court has held that the purpose of the Act is to protect against harm to public health and safety. The maintenance and improvement of existing public health and safety does not appear to be a purpose of the Act, since public health and safety are harmed more by the Act than they would be without the Act. If maintenance and improvement of existing public health and safety is not a purpose of the Act, nor of the state's interest in public health and safety with regard to the Act, then an Act purporting to protect against harm to public health and safety, but which increased the harm to public health and safety, could still be defended as rational since its purpose was not to maintain or improve an existing state of public health and safety but merely to protect against harm to it. Such a 'protective' Act would find a self-perpetuating purpose. A society could be in ruins and such a ' protective' Act, having created great harm to society, would find an increasingly important purpose. Would the Court, in judging such a Act's rational connection to its purpose, find that the Act was not irrational, even though its enactment increased the harm to public health and safety, on the grounds that its purpose was simply to protect against the harm to public health and safety? By prohibiting cannabis use, the Act has increased the risk of harm to public health and safety by placing cannabis in a black market whose only 'regulation' for 'non-medical' purposes is 'regulation' of the black market by the police. Aside from those licensed for 'medical purposes', police officers are the only individuals in Canada legally authorized to possess and deal in cannabis; and then only for investigative purposes in enforcement of the prohibition.

    25. Since the Act contains no express statement of purpose other than that above in its title, the purpose of the Act is solely the result of judicial interpretation which now appears to include the proposition that criminal penalties for cannabis possession are a statement of social 'disapproval' expressed through Parliament, with a rational connection to a 'reasonable apprehension of harm'. In Malmo-Levine/Caine above (para. 136), Gonthier and Binnie J.J. state:

    The criminalization of possession is a statement of society's collective disapproval of the use of a psychoactive drug such as marihuana . . . and, through Parliament, the continuing view that its use should be deterred. The prohibition is not arbitrary but is rationally connected to a reasonable apprehension of harm. In particular, criminalization seeks to take marihuana out of the hands of users and potential users, so as to prevent the associated harm and to eliminate the market for traffickers.

    As to a perceived 'collective disapproval' by society, at what point does an individual's harmless behavior become so offensive that 'society's collective disapproval' overrides the inherent dignity of the individual? Clearly in the case of cannabis use, Parliament has taken upon itself to express 'society's collective disapproval' by infringing on the individual's freedom of thought. Clearly in view of Ford v. Quebec (Attorney-General), R. v. Keegstra, R. v. Big M Drug Mart and R. v. Oakes above, only a pressing and substantial need can justify the individual's inherent dignity being overriden by 'society's collective disapproval', particularly in the case of generally harmless behavior, and particularly in the case of a crucial, determining factor in maintenance of a free and democratic society.

    26. If the purpose of prohibition (criminalized or not) of cannabis is to prevent a perceived harm associated with cannabis use while at the same time to 'eliminate the market for traffickers', it is an irrational purpose. Prohibition creates a harm associated with cannabis use, namely the harm of the black market, that would not exist if cannabis use were not prohibited; while increasing the risk, if any, of harm through naïve use by creating that same black market. Thus prohibition creates the very harm it purports to protect against. To justify prohibition on the grounds that its purpose is to eliminate the market for traffickers is also irrational, since it is prohibition itself which creates the very black market whose elimination it takes as its purpose. Without traffickers there would be no market for traffickers, since the market would be legal. There is little risk of harm to the user associated with cannabis use per se, but prohibition creates a harm by forcing cannabis users to obtain cannabis in the black market, placing them unnecessarily in harm's way, both as illicit customers of illicit traffickers who additionally will target naïve users, and as 'offenders' in the eyes of the police who 'regulate' the market. By far the greatest part of the harm associated with cannabis use, both to the user and to society, is the harm created by prohibition. Cannabis use is manifestly desired by large numbers of Canadians regardless of 'society's collective disapproval', if such disapproval does in fact exist and is based on reason; and it is widely used with little risk of harm other than the harms of the black market.

    27. Parliament has created a class of outlaws in order to punish the outlaws it has created, with great harm to Canadian society. Since cannabis use has not been legal for several generations, it cannot even be said that the alleged harm associated with cannabis use per se, for example to people with underlying schizophrenic conditions, would occur if cannabis were used in a legal environment. The unstable nature of the black market is virtually an invitation for misuse by people who in a legal environment would be engaging in an entirely lawful exercise of free thought, without any of the guilt and persecution associated with the irrational prohibition. Someone who feels unjustly persecuted is justified in this feeling if the persecution is in fact unjust. Such unjust persecution is entirely due to prohibition. The unjust and irrational exercise of prohibition is aided and abetted by indirect coercion of expression and thought, in the form of public comments by public officials who misrepresent the effects of cannabis use, and persecute cannabis users, in order to defend prohibition and attack the black market; but who fail to advise society that without prohibition there would be no black market. These public comments reinforce society's collective, but irrational, disapproval of a substance and its users, by associating them with a black market for which society has a rational fear.

    28. Increased general use, the ruthless targeting by traffickers of new groups, including the very groups such as adolescents which the Court has identified as being 'at risk', and the naïve use and misuse which occurs as a result of intentional and unintentional misinformation about the effects of cannabis by its being under a blanket prohibition, all increase rather than reduce both the general threat to public health and safety and the individual harm associated with cannabis use. Strengthening enforcement only strengthens the black market, driving up prices, causing greater expectation of high profit, forcing development of new markets, etc. This 'war on drugs' has two sides, with the population in the middle, and a move by one side will meet a response by the other side. Prohibition has never been shown to work to achieve its intended purpose of decreasing consumption. And its very enactment creates the 'market' it then purports to eliminate.

    29. The perceived harm to society associated with cannabis use, aside from the harm caused by prohibition, includes generally undefined 'welfare' costs to society, and specific harm from impaired driving or impaired operation of machinery. 'Welfare' costs can only be measured as financial costs, and include medical costs incurred by those who naively misuse cannabis in a climate of social ignorance of its effects; for example chronic users or naïve abusers, who may experience temporary symptoms of schizophrenia (although cannabis has not been shown to cause the underlying condition, which has been shown to be due mainly to hereditary and family influences and maternal nutritional deficits) and then require 'treatment'; or vaguely understood costs of lost productivity by underachieving adolescents who require public support. The combined financial costs from the use of all ' illicit drugs', for example the costs of hospital admission and medical treatment, pale by comparison to the financial costs of enforcing prohibition; and the indefinable 'welfare' costs do not account for indefinable cost benefits that could be achieved by use of cannabis as a therapeutic drug for treatment of individuals now treated unsuccessfully or simply ignored at great 'cost' to the welfare of society. The indefinable 'welfare' costs are largely an illusion perpetrated in the interest of prohibition, and are increased, not decreased, by prohibition. Prohibition of cannabis increases rather than decreases the harm to society from such 'welfare' costs. Most of the costs to society by 'offenders', either through imprisonment or through 'treatment' in the form of re-education or indoctrination in the values that prohibition requires, are in truth due to prohibition, not to cannabis use. The small number of individuals who suffer specific psychotic symptoms due to misuse of cannabis create a cost that a free and democratic society would be willing to bear both in order to preserve its freedoms and to improve its health; but the money now spent imprisoning, hospitalizing and 'treating' at-risk cannabis users would be better spent on research into the causes of schizophrenia in order to be able to identify 'at risk' individuals, and even better spent on research into other mental illnesses. Treated mental disorders now appear to afflict approximately one-fifth of the Canadian population, with an larger undefined number of Canadians afflicted by stresses that contribute to these disorders, yet there is little acknowledgement of the harm Canadian society in its current form is evidently inflicting upon its own members. Ultimately, the prevalence of 'mental illness' is both defined by and a reflection of the health of a society. If a society is not healthy, 'mental illness' will become increasingly prevalent. Regardless of the general failure of policy, the specific legal enactment of prohibition, by forcing cannabis into a black market, increases the number of 'at risk' individuals who will use cannabis by forcing traffickers to target alienated social groups who by definition bear no love for society. The prohibition-black market system both increases the outright harm to public health and safety caused by the black market, and by diversion of resources into its ever-widening 'war on drugs', increases 'welfare' costs by the wasteful priority given to enforcement of prohibition.

    30. The only potential for specific harm to others by cannabis use noted in Malmo-Levine/Caine is harm caused by impaired driving or impaired operation of machinery. There is other legislative protection from this risk, which in terms of estimated number of individuals harmed is small compared with the known harm caused by alcohol. In view of existing legislation there is no need to enact further legislation, particularly a blanket prohibition of cannabis use, in order to protect against possible harm from impaired driving. But because prohibition encourages criminal traffickers, and because the authorities do not (and, due to the need to defend prohibition, cannot) encourage accurate information about cannabis use, naïve misuse is increased. For example, adolescents who see evidence of little harm caused by moderate cannabis use, encouraged by their peers, are more likely to drive after using both alcohol and cannabis, in which case their driving skill will be more impaired by alcohol than it will be, if at all, by cannabis. This would not occur if adolescents and adults were informed with the truth about the respective effects of cannabis and alcohol. Prohibition has the effect of increasing the risk of specific harm to others, including driving while under the influence of both cannabis and alcohol and driving while impaired due to ignorant misuse of cannabis.

    31. In short, there is no aspect of the protection of public health and safety in which prohibition does not increase the very harm it seeks to protect against. Prohibition of cannabis is manifestly irrational as a way to achieve its purpose. In the name of public health and safety, it increases the harm to public health and safety.

    32. The self-perpetuating and irrational nature of the prohibition-black market mechanism, and the improbability of its 'success', is revealed by a reference in R. v. Malmo-Levine; R. v. Caine, [2000] B.C.C.A. (para. 90) to the case 30 years earlier of R. v. Hartley (1967), 63 W.W.R. 174 (B.C.C.A.) (Davey J., para. 179):

    This court . . . said that the possession of marijuana is a serious offence and it must be punished severely. The purpose of course was to deter the use of marijuana, among other reasons, because users must obtain supplies, and the supply of the drug involves trafficking, and that, as the market increases, that traffic becomes organized, and the organized traffic tends to increase the use of the drug.

    33. Rather than leading to the end of prohibition at the point of this clear admission that the black market created by it was increasing rather than decreasing cannabis use, the by now obviously irrational attempt to deter the use of cannabis by prohibition was re-emphasized by severe punishment. The only reasonable conclusion is that such continuing 'deterrence' would actually result in increased use. There can be few clearer statements of the irrational nature of the prohibition-black market system than this. Use of cannabis is to be deterred because, among other reasons, the deterrence tends to increase its use! Thus the black market created by prohibition is used to justify the prohibition. Prohibition is a way to combat the effects of prohibition; the 'harm' of the drug itself is less important than the harm of the black market. The irrational or fraudulent exercise of justifying prohibition because it attacks the black market it creates had been carried out earlier than 1967. In 1954 Parliament amended the Opium and Narcotic Drug Act. The purpose of the amendment, in the words of Braidwood J. (Malmo-Levine/Caine, 2000 B.C.C.A. para. 81), was to better combat drug trafficking in Canada:

    The new offence of possession for the purpose of trafficking ('P.P.T.') was created, and penalties for trafficking were greatly increased. As courts have often stated, the harsh penalties for drug trafficking (as opposed to simple possession) that were enacted in 1954 indicate that Parliament's primary purpose was to stamp out the drug traffic and punish the traffickers. . . .

    This statement of Parliament's primary purpose in 1954, 'to stamp out the drug traffic', is clear evidence that the black market, which Parliament had itself created in 1908 and to which cannabis had been consigned in 1923, had become the primary target of the prohibition law. By 1967 the "organized traffic" of the black market was recognized as tending "to increase the use of the drug". But prohibition remains in force today, with the irrational purpose of deterring cannabis use and 'traffic', while infringing on free exercise of thought.

    34. It is clear that prohibition increases the threat to public health and safety by creating a black market which not only increases cannabis use but also poses an additional threat to public health and safety by the operation of criminal gangs who traffic in truly dangerous substances as well as in cannabis. The law which prohibits cannabis possession is not rationally connected to its purpose of protecting public health and safety, since at the moment of its enactment it increases the threat to public health and safety by consigning cannabis, a beneficial substance whose use is mainly moderate, whose moderate is harmless, and whose immoderate use is generally harmless, to a black market.

    35. If the recitation above of the 'progress' of prohibition is not in itself evidence that little care was taken in the design of the prohibition law, more evidence of this lack of care is that cannabis was added to the schedule of 'narcotics' without any policy statement or debate in Parliament. Various courts have noted the climate of 'irrational fear' at the time of enactment of cannabis prohibition. For example, in R. v. Parker (Court of Appeal for Ontario, 20000731), Rosenberg J.A. (para. 126) observed:

    . . .the cannabis prohibition was enacted in a climate of 'irrational fear' based upon wild and outlandish claims that its users are driven completely insane, immune from pain and, while in this state of maniacal rage, kill or indulge in other forms of violence using the most savage methods of cruelty.

    It had been known at that time for thirty years, following the report of the Indian Hemp Drugs Commission of 1893-4, that cannabis used in moderation is harmless both physically, mentally and 'morally'. Cannabis has been used in various regions since the dawn of human history, and its potential as a 'medicine' in England, where its use was not historical, had been recognized in the eighteenth century. But in Canada a climate of irrational fear, most likely encouraged by private interests who saw hemp as a market rival to petroleum-based industrial materials and chemical pharmaceuticals who aided and abetted misunderstanding of the effects both of cannabis and its prohibition, produced an irrational prohibition which was hastily introduced and enacted with no fanfare, possibly to avoid political embarrassment. Even when cannabis use became widespread and the irrational fear was exposed, cannabis was still carelessly treated 'for the purposes of the law' as if it were an addictive narcotic. Parliament appeared not to care or respect the opinions of those Canadians who knew it was neither a narcotic nor addictive, who realized its benefit, demanded its legalization, or questioned the rationality of prohibition. The entire subject was effectively off-limits, and cannabis remained carelessly implicated in the scheme of 'dangerous drugs'.

    36. There was, and remains, no reasonable attempt to regulate the use of cannabis in order to produce maximum benefit and minimum harm to public health and safety. The blanket prohibition is an approach that shows utter disregard, if not outright disrespect, for inherent human dignity. Even as the strictly 'medical' benefits of cannabis become more evident, 'medical' regulation is half-hearted and mean spirited. For personal 'non-medical' use, 'regulation' takes the form of a blanket prohibition in which the police, the courts and the penal system are the regulators. In view of the lack of criminality created by cannabis use, there is no need for a ' criminal' system of market regulation. A carefully designed law would create an orderly market for cannabis in which the purpose of sanctions would be to ensure uniform purity and quality standards, purity, weights and measure standards, licensing standards; and to define and advise responsible use to minimize misuse by perceived 'at risk' groups. Such a carefully designed law would both protect and benefit the health and safety of the public while impairing as little as possible the free exercise of thought.

    37. The law is unfair in that in order to protect against misuse by a small number of 'at risk' individuals and groups, it punishes a much larger group of people who use cannabis with no risk to health and more likely a benefit and for whom the use of cannabis is the free exercise of thought. A greater manifest unfairness is that the law remains in effect because those who seek election to Parliament must appeal to a group of voters whose irrational fear of cannabis is reinforced by a rational fear of the black market . These politicians, particularly those in the government, must draw attention away from the fact that prohibition is the crime, and lay the evils of the black market at the feet of cannabis and its users. Political scare tactics hide the truth of the general harmlessness and potential benefit of cannabis use. Maintenance of fear for political purposes may be the true and, in the eyes of politicians, unfortunately 'rational' purpose of prohibition; but this 'rational' purpose has nothing to do with the protection of public health and safety, since prohibition creates a threat to public health and safety, and maintaining prohibition increases that threat.

    38. The law is arbitrary in that it places cannabis, which is not addictive or even inherently dangerous to health, under the same prohibition with addictive drugs which are dangerous to health, while leaving the addictive drugs which are most dangerous to health in Canadian society, namely alcohol and tobacco, untouched. It appears that Parliament may pick and choose which perceived 'harms' in society it wishes to address without this picking and choosing being deemed as and 'arbitrary' violation of the 'fundamental principles of justice'; but when it infringes upon a specific freedom guaranteed in section 2(b) of the Charter, such picking and choosing must be justified in view of a pressing and substantial concern. If there are any pressing and substantial concerns in the area of Canadian public health and safety, ignoring the harms of alcohol, tobacco and fatty foods to public health and safety while singling out cannabis for blanket prohibition virtually defines what is 'arbitrary'.

    39. Viewed with respect to the values and principles enumerated by Dickson C.J. above, namely respect for the inherent dignity of the human person, commitment to social justice and equality, accommodation of a wide variety of beliefs, respect for cultural and group identity, and faith in social and political institutions which enhance the participation of individuals and groups in society, it is clear that in the design of the law prohibiting cannabis possession, and therefore its use, there is no respect whatsoever for the inherent dignity of the human person. The millions of Canadians who use cannabis are given no credit for having the ability to make up their own minds, to take care of themselves, or to act responsibly. There is no accommodation whatsoever of the beliefs of a large number of Canadians. There is no commitment whatsoever to social justice and equality, but rather the law persecutes a large number of Canadians whose continuing use of an illegal substance without harm either to themselves or to society except in police, court and penal costs, is met with continuing disdain by public and elected officials, who now propose a patronizing 'decriminalization' which would retain the social and legal stigma associated with cannabis use while professing more lenient treatment of 'offenders' against the established order. And this is in the face of increasing acceptability of cannabis use even among people who do not use cannabis. Prohibition diminishes the faith of Canadians in their social and political institutions, and apart from unjustly criminalizing a large number of Canadians it diminishes the participation of the persecuted groups in society.

    Degree of Impairment of Freedom of Thought

    40. Rather than impairing freedom of thought as little as possible, the blanket prohibition of cannabis impairs to the maximum extent possible the freedom of the individual to acquire the kind of thought which cannabis produces. Whereas a carefully designed, rational, and fair law would leave the great majority of Canadians the free exercise of thought by cannabis use, limiting the impairment only where necessary the only Canadians currently freely exercising thought by cannabis use are those who use cannabis legally for 'medical' purposes. By indirect coercion in the form of negative and deceitful propaganda which gives 'public' support to an irrational system of prohibition, many Canadians who would otherwise benefit from cannabis use are led to believe cannabis is a dangerous 'evil'. Such indirect coercion of thought may impair freedom of thought to a greater degree than the direct coercion of prohibition. Clearly there is no attempt in the law which prohibits cannabis possession to limit the law's impairment of freedom of thought at all.

    41. Viewed once again in light of the values and principles underlying the Charter, the blanket prohibition of cannabis in order to protect a small number of 'at risk' people and groups demonstrates no respect for the inherent dignity of the remainder of the population whose freedom of thought is impaired unnecessarily by the blanket prohibition. If Parliament were truly committed to social justice, social equality and accommodation of a wide variety of beliefs, it could easily find a way to impair freedom of thought as little as possible in regulating cannabis use without throwing a blanket prohibition over the whole population. The variety of beliefs which may arise from cannabis use may prove immensely beneficial to a society which at present cannot be described as healthy or whole. If those who lead Canada wish to solve economic and social problems such as unemployment, underemployment, and overconsumption, they would serve themselves far better by encouraging a wide variety of perspectives than by discouraging Canadians from participating in solving these problems. The thought produced by cannabis use may be the thought that is needed to solve the problems Canada faces. But the person who may have that thought may be currently prohibited from having it. Thought produced by the use of cannabis is, in effect, illegally acquired thought.

    Harmful Effect of Prohibition

    42. The harm caused by cannabis to Canadian society is minuscule in absolute terms, and trivial in view of the harm caused by legal drugs such as alcohol and tobacco, and also when compared with mental illnesses due to prescription drug abuse, when compared with the overall incidence of physical and mental health problems in Canada, and when compared with the harm to society caused by cannabis prohibition. The harm caused by cannabis prohibition in Canada over the past 75 years cannot be estimated financially except by the enforcement costs incurred in an ultimately doomed exercise which harms freedom and democracy. These costs are extreme compared with the 'problem' prohibition is supposed to address. But the unwritten costs to the 'physical', 'mental', and 'social' health of Canadians is enormous and hard to exaggerate. Beside the damage to public and private institutions created by the existence of the black market, prohibition of cannabis has damaged the physical health of individual Canadians by denying them access to the safest therapeutic substance known to man, and this 'prohibition' continues in the almost punitive Marijuana Medical Access regulations. There are many more conditions that can be treated by cannabis than those in the restrictive categories of symptoms. Cannabis before prohibition was widely used for treatment of many conditions. The development of synthetic chemical pharmaceuticals, in part made possible by cannabis prohibition, may have produced more benefit for the corporations that control the market for these drugs than for the Canadian public. These drugs may have had the effect of prolonging life, but the prolonged life of Canadians is now lived with greater physical and mental disease, and at a greater cost, than ever before. What is described as 'health care' is in fact sickness care. Hundreds of thousands of people have died prematurely from the effects of tobacco use; many more have died prematurely from the effects of alcohol use; there is little sign of 'society's collective disapproval' of these premature deaths; while a relatively harmless substance, without harmful side effects, which could and would otherwise have been chosen by many of those prematurely dead people, is under prohibition. New kinds of mental illness have developed (or have been invented by pharmaceutical manufacturers in search of profits) which could and would have been avoided if cannabis had been legally available. Industries such as the prison ' industry', the enforcement 'industry', and the drug testing 'industry' have become fixtures in Canadian society. Criminals and criminal organizations have infiltrated all social, commercial and political institutions. Canadians have been kept in a shroud of ignorance not only of cannabis but of the damage their economic system was doing to them. Respect for the inherent dignity of the human person, commitment to social justice and equality, accommodation of a wide variety of beliefs, respect for cultural and group identity, and faith in social and political institutions which enhance the participation of individuals and groups in society, all have been diminished over the period of prohibition. Canadian society is in many ways a sick society in need of a cure. There certainly appears to be no progress toward any particular social goal, nor any awareness of a purpose, in political institutions overrun by vested interests which, for all we know, fear the thought that legal cannabis use might produce because their agendas would be unmasked in a more open society with free exercise of thought.

    Pressing and Substantial Concern

    43. There is a pressing and substantial concern in Canadian society to eliminate the black market for some illicit drugs, but this black market cannot be eliminated by prohibition; it is created by prohibition. Some of these drugs, such as opiates, are addictive but not dangerous in themselves; their danger is a creation of the black market in that addicted individuals must pay extremely inflated prices for impure and often dangerous doses. If these individuals are 'treated', the treatment is often to replace one addictive drug with another; nothing is accomplished by replacing heroin, for example, with methadone. The only beneficiary of this 'treatment' is the supplier of methadone. Other of these drugs, such as refined cocaine and methamphetamines, are both addictive and dangerous in themselves. These drugs do cause psychoses, and often violent behavior, and withdrawal symptoms are severe. Use of these dangerous and addictive drugs should and can be deterred in a truthful way without creating a police-enforced black market. Addicts themselves eventually recognize the danger of these substances by their own experience and seek legitimate treatment (not 'treatment' in the form of attempted re-education as an alternative to imprisonment that is currently practiced) . There are many other 'psychoactive' drugs which are legally available for 'medical purposes' but which are dangerous and often misused; there appears to be little effort to deter misuse of these drugs which are responsible for a far greater number of hospital emergency room admissions than all illicit drugs combined. Cannabis is in fact an alternative to many of these illicit drugs and medicines, and has been termed one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man. As such it is hard to justify arbitrarily limiting its use to patients whose own doctors may be more at the service of drug companies who manufacture and sell these potentially toxic drugs than they are at the service of their patients. But prohibition raises the price and limits the availability of cannabis.

    44. Legal cannabis use would deter many people from using these dangerous and addictive drugs in the first place by providing them with a legal, safe alternative. Legal cannabis use would also encourage addicted individuals to withdraw from their addicted use. In addition to its other 'medical' benefits, cannabis eases the pain of withdrawal both from cocaine and methamphetamines. Having a legal, safe alternative many addicted individuals would be encouraged to refrain from continual use of cocaine and methamphetamines. A rational, careful approach to the problem of drug addiction would reduce harm to society from these dangerous drugs, rather than increasing the harm. But prohibition is not a rational, careful approach. The pressing concern of Canadian society in regard to cannabis use is to end prohibition and repair the damage it has done; there is no pressing or substantial concern to continue to prohibit cannabis use. The only voices raised in favor of continued prohibition are those of a diminishing number of Canadians whose irrational fear and desire to express their 'collective disapproval' of cannabis use is appeased by politicians not necessarily because they share that fear or agree with that view, but definitely because they seek votes. Thus the effect of cannabis prohibition, whether intended or not, is to maintain the population in a shroud of ignorance of cannabis.

    45. Canadian society cannot be said to be healthy, free, or democratic today. Canadian society is physically and mentally unhealthy; and its culture, social and political institutions have been corrupted by the effect of the prohibition-black market system that holds a beneficial substance hostage to political opportunists and ruthless criminals. There will not be a society which respects the inherent dignity of the human person, or a society committed to social justice and equality, or a society that accommodates a wide variety of beliefs, or a society that respects cultural and group identity, or a society with faith in social and political institutions which enhance the participation of individuals and groups, until the guarantee of free exercise of thought is unimpaired by an arbitrary, irrational, and unfair law. That is the importance of cannabis to Canadian society. The impairment by cannabis prohibition of the free exercise of thought is among the worst of the evils in Canadian society. There is a pressing and substantial need to undo this evil.

    46. The characterization of cannabis use for 'recreational purposes' is not a characterization which describes the main purpose for which cannabis is used. Nor is an interpretation which equates 'non-medical' with 'recreational' use entirely valid. There are many purposes for which individuals act, including the purpose for which they use cannabis, that are neither 'medical' nor 'recreational'. Some individuals use cannabis legally for approved 'medical' purposes; others may use cannabis for a 'recreational ' purpose by seeking its euphoric effect (often achieved in conjunction with alcohol use), but this effect is not necessarily sought universally by users, nor even necessarily sought at all by those who abstain from the use of alcohol or refrain from its use when using cannabis, since the desired effect of cannabis is negated by the alcohol.

    47. Some people may use cannabis 'non-recreationally' for purposes of maintaining or improving their physical or mental health or their general health in the sense of 'wholeness', which would appear to lie outside the realm of government-approved 'medical' advice or intervention. Others may use cannabis for the purpose of improving their knowledge, understanding and appreciation of the natural world, or for understanding society and their role in society; others may use cannabis for the purpose of stimulating creative physical or mental activity. Others may use cannabis for the purpose of freeing their thought from, for example, the mental chains by which media organizations seek to bind them in order to direct their actions (in other words, to escape the 'thought control' they perceived to be exercised by advertising and other media campaigns). It can truthfully be said that any or all these purposes can be, and are, achieved by individuals by the use of cannabis for its effect on thought. If the effect of cannabis use on thought is not found beneficial by an individual - for example, if it is perceived as not improving 'health', cannabis is not addictive, and the choice to refrain from using cannabis is not a difficult one. A cannabis user becomes aware of the effect of cannabis use on his or her thoughts, although the full benefit may not become immediately evident, and a naïve user may not judge well the effect of cannabis use or recognize any benefit . A mature or experienced user who values the effect of cannabis on his or her thought can learn to use cannabis in a 'non-recreational' way as a creative stimulant, a means of introspection, a learning tool, etc. To a person thoroughly familiar with effect, cannabis is a miracle drug, a multi-purpose tool which can be adapted for many uses. That such a useful substance is prohibited is a crime against society.

    48. Various words have been used to describe the effects of cannabis use on the individual and many of them have acquired negative connotations through their association with a prohibited substance. For example, cannabis is commonly described as producing a feeling of euphoria. Although the word 'euphoria' has become associated with an unjustified sense of wellbeing, no such negative connotation applies to its roots, nor is this connotation itself necessarily justified. According to Webster's Online Dictionary, the word euphoria first appeared in modern use in 1882. However, its roots are old. Its etymology can be traced to the Greek 'euphoros', meaning healthy, with further roots 'eu-': 'well' or 'good' and 'pherein': 'bearing' (as in 'bearing children'). If a sense of wellbeing is associated with cannabis, this wellbeing is not limited to cerebral effects. For example, patients in the U.K. suffering from multiple sclerosis, taking part in a recent research study, reported improvement in their physical symptoms from cannabis use which was not observed in clinical tests. Clearly the use of cannabis relieved the symptoms that they felt, even though this relief was not evident to the observers of the test. But the observers were not the patients. If one of the aims of medicine is to relieve suffering, then if a patient reports relief from suffering, is denial of that relief justified? Cannabis produces a sense of wellbeing. To a first-time user or in an extreme dose, this sense may be overwhelming, but with familiarity and moderate use this sense is not overwhelming. It is simply welcome. A sense of wellbeing is not dangerous. It may lead to a sense of joy. It may lead to a state in which a cannabis user feels free to exercise his or her inherent power of thought, at which point his eyes are opened.

    49. Another word used in association with cannabis is the word 'intoxication '. A toxic substance (derived from the Latin, originally a poison in which arrows were dipped) is a poisonous substance. A 'poison' is an agent which creates a deadly effect in the user. Cannabis is not a poison. There is no known case of death by cannabis poisoning or 'overdose'. Cannabis is known as one of the most benign 'therapeutic' substances known to man. Whereas many illnesses are treated by medicines which are poisonous in certain doses, and many medicines take effect at a point very close to which they are poisonous, and with harmful side-effects, cannabis is not such a substance. The word 'intoxication' used to describe an effect of cannabis is not accurate.

    50. 'Joy' is defined by Webster's Dictionary as the "passion or emotion excited by the acquisition or expectation of good; pleasurable feelings or emotions caused by success, good fortune, and the like, or by a rational prospect of possessing what we love or desire; gladness; exhilaration of spirits; delight". It should not be surprising that a cannabis user, experiencing a sense of wellbeing by cannabis use, should feel joy; nor should it be surprising that the user would desire to repeat the experience on a regular basis. It is surprising that such a desire should be characterized, with negative connotation, as a 'psychological dependence'. In that case the desire to have sex on a regular basis would also be characterized as a 'psychological dependence'. Would such a 'psychological dependence' acquire a negative connotation?

    51. Like human thought, cannabis is a miraculous gift whose 'medicinal' properties alone make it the safest therapeutic substance known to man. But cannabis is food and medicine. Cannabis seed is the healthiest and most complete single food for humans. Just as food is necessary for physical health, cannabis is both food for physical health and food for thought. It is medicine in the broadest sense, useful for the healthy as well as for the unhealthy. It is good for human health in the whole sense. That is why it is widely used in spite of the prohibition-black market system. Cultivation and use of cannabis should be encouraged both for food and for thought, as well as for industrial use, and Canadian society will be healthier for it.

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