Letters to the Editor

The Mail Bag

Remembering Ross

Dear Sir:

I would like to express my sincere condolences on the passing of Ross Slezak to his wife Donna and family.

I had the honour of working with Ross on a few issues and have the utmost respect for his contribution and commitment to the communities of Kitimat and Terrace. He was very involved with CAW union and fought very hard for the working people and their families. His advocacy was not just for his colleagues at work but for all of us in the Northwest. He was looking out for all of us.

The communities of Kitimat and Terrace have lost a committed social activist and a true trade unionist.

Nathan Cullen, MP,

Skeena-Bulkley Valley, Smithers, B.C.

Let’s log

Dear Sir:

With the steady increase in natural gas, and the fact that so many loggers are unemployed in our area, coupled with the huge amount of pine beetle kill in our forests, why are we not logging all that dead stuff? Not only will it reduce the potential of huge forest fires, but it will give us a renewable heating source, be it in the form of pellets or firewood.

I’d rather pay the loggers for firewood as opposed to having my tax dollars go to the firefighters and the victims of those fires.

Connie Yasinchuck, Terrace, B.C.

I don’t believe it

Dear Sir:

I’m writing about the person charged with one marijuana offence and under investigation for another. Now police are looking into whether or not this person told Health Canada he was charged before obtaining his exemption. Health Canada does not care if you were recently charged with marijuana offences. Nor will it in any way impede the process of acquiring an exemption. This is pure propaganda.

Let me remind this officer and like minded thinkers that only doctors make the decisions when it comes to medical marijuana. Health Canada can only rubber stamp our applications in an incredibly untimely fashion. I am sorry to say but this cop is powerless to that fact and can only fight back with misinformation.

A 2003 ruling clearly states that the person shall be exempt from the law if medical necessity can be proved. Just as I said, our doctors are our protection.

Interestingly it is of my opinion that this person could always have benefited from marijuana. Therefore his criminal record should not include his prior marijuana arrests. Also, being an exemptee who has had my rights violated by police bullying I would like to show you some text right out of our medical marijuana program. It is a paragraph that gives us exemptees a false sense of security, and a perfect example of how police treat marijuana, and sick and or dying Canadians:

“To reduce the possibility of police intervention when you engage in activities allowed under your authorization or licence, if asked, Health Canada will communicate limited authorization and licence information to Canadian police in response to a request in the context of an investigation under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act , or the Marihuana Medical Access Regulations.”

I find the phrase “if asked” ludicrous. It gives the police the option to check and see if this person they suspect is legally licensed. Stress, as anyone can tell you will and can sicken an already immune system, cause depression, marital turmoil and so on.

Derek Pedro, Hamilton, Ontario

Other ways to use pot

Dear Sir:

It is understandable that smoking cannabis for medicinal purposes makes no sense to Dr. John Krisinger as indicated in his recent letter to the editor.

From a medical perspective, it makes no sense to run boiling water through ground coffee beans to get a caffeine fix when their are caffeine and amphetamine pills available. Modern medicine is all about single chemical compounds. Cannabis is an herb, or natural health product, more like a food than a drug.

Yes, there is a pill for treating nausea that contains one of the therapeutically active cannabinoids, THC, however, as the doctor mentioned, the pill is much slower acting and therefore difficult to titrate. Also, because the pill lacks potentiating cannabinoids, such as CBD, many patients find it makes them too high.

Sativex, the oromucosal (mouth) spray is better, in that it is a faster-acting, whole-cannabis extract, however it is still much slower than smoking, more expensive per dose, and still under trial for treating neuropathic pain.

The good news is that whole cannabis can be baked, added to beverages and tinctures or vaporized, allowing patients to rapidly inhale their medicine without inhaling the harmful by-products of combustion. Smokers can also avoid lung congestion by using smaller amounts of more potent, organic cannabis and refined cannabis products such as hashish, making sure not to hold the smoke in.

Regarding addiction, less than 10 per cent of cannabis consumers use cannabis every month and less than 2 per cent use cannabis daily. The withdrawal symptoms are relatively trivial and the risk of psychological dependence relatively minor. Most cannabis consumers abstain on their own with little effort or discomfort.

Long-term heavy cannabis smoking can cause chronic congestion and bronchitis. However, there is no evidence that smoking cannabis causes cancer. In fact, there is some evidence that cannabis suppresses and even prevents some forms of cancer. Those who smoke less than a few joints per day risk less lung damage than those who elect to live in polluted cities.

Perhaps it makes sense to patients to palliate their symptoms now and worry about long-term lung congestion later, especially if their condition is terminal. Surely this should be a judgment left to patients and doctors, not police officers, courts and posturing politicians. I would wager that stigmatization, fear of arrest and criminal sanctions are worse for your health than pot smoking.

Matthew M. Elrod Victoria, B.C.

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