Wednesday, May 28, 2003

What is DeLay Smoking?

Recently, as The Washington Post reported, DeLay and cronies lighted up cigars at Ruth's Chris Steak House in D.C., which is in a building owned by the Smithsonian and falls under a federal smoking ban.

A manager politely cited government policy and asked DeLay to snuff out his stogie.

"I AM the federal government," DeLay bellowed at him, and then stormed out.

Were he to smoke a joint, DeLay might be better able to control his anger.

As Parliament reconvenes today, Canada's government is set to introduce legislation that would remove criminal penalties and substitute a simple ticket for those possessing small amounts of marijuana.

The decriminalization bill is causing controversy -- in the United States.

John Walters, the Bush administration's drug czar, has taken repeated pot shots at Canada's "out of control" drug policy.

Up in the Great White North, however, polls show 70 percent of Canadians favor the pending reform.

Why? Part of it is recognition that criminal penalties don't stop people from getting high. They just give them criminal records, and give politicians embarrassing questions to answer later in life.

Advocates of Canada's proposed reform cite statistics on how the United States, with 5 percent of the world's population, now has 25 percent of the globe's prison inmates. Almost 500,000 people in the States are locked up for drug violations.

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