When I first read that Canadian Justice Minister Martin Cauchon was thinking of decriminalizing the possession of marijuana, one thing popped through my mind.

This is going to piss off the Americans.

Damned if I wasn't right.

I mean, this news comes right on the heels of Britain doing what Cauchon's thinking of doing, making the possession of pot an offence punishable by a fine. That's right, no worse than a parking ticket.

I mean, the Bush administration seem to be quite adamant about keeping this drug illegal. And when two of their staunchest allies decide to make a move toward legalization of a drug that most medical organizations agree is far less damaging than alcohol and tobacco, it doesn't exactly help their case. Especially when it's the next door neighbors.

"If you have lax marijuana policies right across the border, where possession of marijuana is not concidered criminal conduct, that invites U.S. citizens into Canada for marijuana uses and that will increase the likelihood that both U.S. citizens and Canadian citizens will bring back the Canadian marijuana across the border for distribution and sale," said Asa Hutchinson, director of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency.

Hmmmm... when do I remember this happening? Oh yeah, Canadian Whisky flowing across the border during Prohibition.

"We have great respect for Canada and Britain as well, and if they start shifting policies with regards to marijuana, it simply increases the rumblings in this country that we ought to re-examine our policy," said Hutchingson.

Rumblings!? Christ, the last time I checked, it was a democracy. If the rumblings mean that the people support legalization of this fairly harmless drug, as the polls seem to indicate, it's just stupid to keep wasting billions of dollars fighting it. Doing so isn't doing anything more than making criminals rich, while law enforcement has to waste their time chasing people down for it.

Hello?! Al Capone? Eliot Ness? Remember that?! People tried this before. It didn't work then, and it isn't working now.

I wonder if the Calgary Herald has an opening on their opinions page staff...