Drug Czar Barry McCaffrey's assertion in his Scripps-Howard News Service column that
"No clinical evidence demonstrates that smoked marijuana is good medicine" is
inconsistent with the facts. Whether this is an intentional deception, as part of the
federal government's stated public relations offensive against medical marijuana,
or whether it is based on ignorance does not matter. The reality is General
McCaffrey's statements are not consistent with the facts.
The research reprinted in this compilation includes randomized, double-blind, placebo
controlled studies, research using a variety of objective and subjective measurements
and a range of research protocols. Doctors have a sound basis on which to recommend
marijuana for use by their patients.
Indeed, physicians are well aware of the medical value of marijuana. One study, a
scientific survey of oncologists found that almost one half (48 percent) of the cancer
specialists responding would prescribe marijuana to some of their patients if it were
legal. In fact, over 44 percent reported having recommended the illegal use of marijuana
for the control of nausea and vomiting.
Among those favouring legalization of marijuana were 63 per cent of British Columbians, 54 per cent
of Quebeckers, 51 per cent of Ontarians and 56 per cent of those under 35.
Those who remain opposed to marijuana number 55 per cent in Atlantic Canada and 53 per cent on
Education appears to be one of the significant indicators of attitude. Of those with less than
highschool education, 51 per cent are opposed to the legalization of marijuana. But 55 per cent
of university graduates are in favour.
-- Possession Of Pot No Crime, Poll Told,
Globe and Mail, November 1997
TO OUTSIDERS, it will seem shockingly narrow-minded. At a conference on drug abuse last year, sponsored by the US government's Center for Substance Abuse Prevention, a speaker was shouted down and told to "Shut the fuck up". Her crime? Simply saying that government anti-drugs funds should go only to programmes based on methods that have been shown to work, and for suggesting that a popular scheme called Girl Talk wasn't one of them. Only the conservative media thought the incident worth mentioning: the woman who had been silenced was a noted conservative.
Maia Szalavitz, New Scientist (UK), Feb 2, 2002
Canadians overwhelmingly support the medicinal use of marijuana, according to a new national survey.
In a survey of 2,026 people, conducted last month by Decima Research Inc., 78% of those polled said
they support the federal government's plan to consider the use of marijuana as a possible treatment
for various medicinal conditions. The survey is considered accurate within 2.1 percentage points,
19 times out of 20.
About 33% of those polled strongly support the medicinal use of marijuana while, 45% said they support its use. Just
10% are opposed, while 8% are strongly opposed; 4% had no point of view.
Support for marijuana's medicinal use was strongest among those who are university educated and
with household incomes of more than $60,000 annually.
Canadians Favour The Use Of Medical Marijuana,
National Post, April 1999
Tory Senator Pierre Claude Nolin ( De Salaberry, Que. ) has spent years studying Canada's drug laws and was the
driving force behind both the current Senate committee and its predecessor. He spearheaded the creation of the Special
Senate Committee on Illegal Drugs as a direct result of evidence that he saw while on the committee studying C-8 in
1996, the bill to amend the Narcotics Act and other Criminal Code provisions related to drugs.
He denies that the committee witness list is biased in favour of the pro-liberalization forces, but notes that it's just not that
easy to find serious researchers who support the status quo.
"We're trying to be balanced, but it is very difficult to find researchers, scholars, people who are really studying the
problem who will come to the conclusion that we should maintain the status quo. We know that there are some people
who do, most in the United States and some in Geneva, and we will hear from them," said Sen. Nolin, adding that the
committee is trying to organize hearings outside of Ottawa this fall, where he plans to hear from witnesses who have
Said Sen. Nolin: "But there is a difference between those types of witnesses, and I have imposed on me, and the
committee, a very rigorous approach."
Sen. Nolin isn't shy about indicating his own leanings on the subject - - as well as his uncertainty about how the
government should proceed in changing the current legal morass surrounding drug use.
"My opinion is that prohibition doesn't work, but what is the solution? I don't know. Because it doesn't seem to work, I
want to hear the real scientific and knowledge-based testimony to make sure that we can have a more intelligent policy."
Senator Nolin Says Parliament Can't Ignore Gap In Public Opinion,
Ottawa Hill Times, June 2001