Last Updated:Friday - 09/24/2010
February 3, 2003
WCR Letters to the Editor
Moore mistaken on effects of marijuana
Charles Moore, not unlike many Canadians, is badly mistaken about a number of issues with respect to marijuana use and its decriminalization (WCR Jan. 20).
If Canadians were well informed about it, and democratically wished to legalize it, one could not object. Neither could a compassionate person object to its controlled medical use, providing such treatment is well researched and deemed necessary.
However, it is simply not true that cannabis is a harmless innocuous substance or a highly beneficial drug, with hardly any side-effects.
Besides, recreational pot smoking and the resulting carcinogens are just as harmful as tobacco, if not more. The economic argument in favour of hemp fibre advocated mainly by the "pot-heads," as they are known, is hypocritical, because they don't care too much about cultivating the low THC varieties.
Christians in particular should be careful about comparing alcohol to pot. The Scriptures are quite explicit about the use of fermented "spirit." Jesus turned water into wine, drank it himself in moderation, and instituted the Eucharist in the form of wine. Hemp or its abuse is not mentioned directly, but its historical context is frightening.
Cannabis plant was used by many civilizations as a mind-altering drug inducing artificial joy, and as an aphrodisiac, because hallucinations often have sexual overtones. This has been the main reason for its popularity throughout the millennia, despite the well known fact that these states of euphoria often alternate with depression, panic, paranoia, fear and horror. Prostitutes were often given cannabis to break their will and to lower their moral scruples.
The potency of the modern genetically modified marijuana plants is much closer to that of hashish, and, in fact, we would not be decriminalizing the naturally occurring low potency weed, but a much more potent drug.
Before India finally criminalized hemp use, 38 per cent of the drug abusers admitted to mental hospitals were diagnosed as criminally insane. Police reports from Calcutta and Bengal were very clear about the widespread use of hemp in premeditated crime. So much for its supposedly peace-inducing effects. Arguably, cannabis abuse could be considered the single most important factor for the backwardness of India before it became a part of the British Empire.
Arguments in favour of pot abuse and against alcohol when driving are also misleading. While there are reliable alcohol tests which can convict the abusers, no reliable marijuana tests have been devised, and due to the nature of the drug, none will likely ever be found.
A drunk driver is an irresponsible fool, who, if lucky, will sleep off his hangover, but a pot-impaired driver may turn out to be a monster of a different kind. From the scientific point of view, the key words of cannabis abuse are "deceptive," "unpredictable" and "immeasurable."
According to reputable scientific sources, cannabis causes a plethora of significant adverse effects which are detrimental not only to one's physical health and well-being, but which affect the user's long term health, his brain, morals and psyche (and therefore his reason and faith as well), all this, of course, with further sociological, health care and religious ramifications for which the whole society will have to pay dearly.
Even a short list of effects which many abusers of pot may suffer is stunning: muscular impairment and rigidity, dilated pupils, increased pulse, nausea, vomiting, vertigo and even collapse; impaired judgment and concentration, decrease in short-term memory and rational function, permanent and irreversible brain damage; emotional instability, panic or terror attacks, aggression; lethargy, anti-motivational syndrome, diminished drive and ambition, loss of effectiveness and communications skills, inability to set goals or manage stress; and last but not least, decreased spermatogenesis resulting in infertility, hormonal malfunction (males develop breasts), and chromosomal damage that may affect progeny.
Cannabis is undoubtedly the most deceptive drug known to man, and due to its deadly destructive potential which may reach to the after-world, especially in a society where less and less people seem to understand the difference between liberty and anarchy, it will be very frightening for the rest of us once this devil is unchained.
Marijuana a medicinal herb
I was gratified to see such a well-balanced and realistic article about the decriminalization of marijuana (WCR, Jan. 20).
I certainly don't want to reiterate all the well-made points, but I would encourage those who, out of fear, reject the idea to carefully consider what a cost it is to society to label as criminals people who are not criminally minded; what a drain this is on police who should be fighting real crime.
And marijuana most certainly does have medicinal value in stopping nausea and vomiting, though I won't state here how I know this.
It's about time society stopped lumping what is essentially a herb, albeit a strong one, together with powerful narcotics like heroin. I'm not a marijuana user, but I certainly recognize imbalance when I see it.
Smoking joints more harmful than tobacco
It was with dismay that I read the Jan. 20 WCR "Opinion" article in which Charles Moore is given a half page in a Catholic newspaper to promote the decriminalizing of marijuana.
Over the past year the secular media and a minority of individuals have been on a campaign to promote and pressure our federal government in the direction that this writer suggests and as the first paragraph of his opinion states, it "seems inevitable" that this will be pushed through the next session of Parliament - all four federal political parties have spoken in favour of such legislation. In fact, several MPs have spoken out in favour of going the next step and legalizing its use.
I would estimate that 90 per cent of the people with whom I have discussed the issue are opposed.
Those who support such initiatives drag the benefits of the medical use of marijuana into the debate in an attempt to rationalize their position. I would suggest that they know full well that marijuana has already been approved in Canada for use in doctor approved medical cases, as have cocaine, heroin and morphine. The latters' use as street drugs have not been decriminalized.
For anyone who cares to undertake even basic research about this drug, there is overwhelming evidence available via the Internet or in the public libraries to show that approval would have extreme negative consequences for not only the users' health and safety but for the rest of us - massive increases to the cost of our already struggling health care system would be a major one.
In a recent article entitled A Smoking Gun, researchers from the British Medical Foundation stated, "smoking three cannabis joints a day causes the same degree of harm to the lungs as smoking 20 tobacco cigarettes a day." The same report states, "the tar in cannabis contains up to 50 per cent more cancer causing carcinogens than that found in tobacco."
A British Medical Journal reports that, " teenagers who smoke marijuana once a week face an increased risk of depression and are more likely to develop schizophrenia in later life."
Marijuana smoke has been medically proven to cause impairment to the user's sense of judgment for operating a motor vehicle, not unlike that of alcohol.
It has been suggested that the legislation would allow one to have on their person "just" 20 joints of marijuana at a time. Having spent my working career in the education profession, I would invite anyone who is considering the pros and cons of this proposed legislation to consider the impact that this could have on the teaching and administration of a high school in your community, let alone on the users' learning ability as well as the non-user students who come to school to acquire a quality education.
Any further relaxation of marijuana laws would: increase usage, be harmful to users; would impact the health and safety of non-users and would dramatically increase costs to our health care systems. For those who agree with this rationale please contact your MP, your MLA and the federal minister of justice, firstname.lastname@example.org, as soon as possible to express your opposition.
St. Marguerite had strong ties with Catholic schools
We read with dismay the comment in the Jan. 20 edition of the WCR, in the article, "School District Seeks Patron Saint," that St. Marguerite d'Youville, our first Canadian saint, "has little connection with education."
In fact, St. Marguerite taught in Chateauguay. In memory of their beloved foundress as a teacher, the Grey Nuns of Montreal opened a free elementary school at Chateauguay in 1884. This little school, fully approved by the Catholic Scholastic Commission is still in operation today.
Her charisma inspired the Grey Nuns here in Alberta and as a result they were the first teachers in Alberta, beginning in Lac Ste. Anne in 1859 and in St. Albert in 1863.
Mary Pat Skene
CEO, Grey Nuns of Alberta
Authors challenge illicit sexual behaviour
Dr. Stephen Genuis and Shelagh Genuis have dutifully written books to reveal the truth regarding sexual matters, medically. Their latest is Teen Sex: Reality Check, Sexual Behaviour & STDs in the 21st Century. Please God, may their edifying efforts and work bear fruit.
If all people who trust in God, who love goodness, who revere the innocence of little children would take heart enough to try to overcome evil with good, perhaps they could - we could - by finding a way (with Jesus, who said without him we can do nothing). Maybe we could get copies of the writings of these good people into our schools, and to the attention of our educators.
Should we not grieve that so many are drawn into attitudes of vanity, anti-family and the errors that lead to fornication, co-habiting and bad marriage, divorce, contraception, abortion, suicides - so much unhappiness for themselves, for their families and for their children.
Prayer is necessary, first of all, with trust in God, of course. But, surely we can do something more, and encourage the real heroes who keep opposing evil against formidable odds.
A need to demonstrate feelings of reverence
Your feelings of reverence and your need to demonstrate this feeling by kneeling during and after receiving the Eucharist are acknowledged. Some other feelings we may have in the presence of God are fear, awe, joy, adoration, humility, regret.
We may wish to demonstrate those feelings by bowing our heads, laughing, crying, dancing, singing, raising our arms and shouting or rolling around on the floor and moaning.
The Sacrifice of the Mass is now called the Celebration of the Eucharist. First, look up the word celebrate (Concise Oxford v.1 v.t. Perform publicly and duly (religious ceremony, etc.). Then look up the word duly (adv. Rightly, properly, fitly, sufficiently, punctually.)
You may be right.