Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - October 9, 1974, Lethbridge, Alberta
10 THE LETHBRIDQE HERALD October 9, 1974 U.S. medical evidence may throw new light on marijuana laws OTTAWA (CP) Just as the Liberal government proposes new laws to reduce the penalties for marijuana and hashish offences, research in the United States provides new evidence that cannabis is far more haz- ardous than previously sus- pected. The research has found that cannabis, the generic term for both marijuana and hashish, lowers resistance to disease, causes chemical imbalances in the body and is tied to birth defects. Published reports say the U.S. health department will release a study outlining the health hazards of cannabis use. A spokesman in the federal health protection branch said authorities know about the U.S. report but have not yet decided how they will respond to it. A spokesman for Health Minister Marc Lalohde said the minister had not been briefed on the report and would have no comment until he had been. The Liberal government said more than two years ago it would remove cannabis offences from the Narcotics Control Act, thereby removing the jail sentence for simple posses- sion. The government promise is based on recommendations made in the royal commission report on non-medical drug use which said in its final report last December that the dangers of long-term cannabis use were unknown. Mr. Lalonde and Justice Minister Otto Lang have promised the more liberal legislation in the current ses- sion of Parliament. Mr. Lang said on the weekend that the seven-year minimum jail sentence for importing cannabis will be reduced when the cannabis laws are taken from the Nar- cotics Control Act and put un- der the Food and Drugs Act. A spokesman for Mr. Lang said the proposed new laws are based on an assessment that cannabis is a harmful substance. Trafficking and importing would still be sub- ject to heavy penalties. However, if it was found that marijuana is potentially as harmful as, say, heroin, then it may be necessary to reconsider the laws, he said. Possession of heroin and other hard drugs will continue to be punishable by jail sentences under the proposed new legislation. A report published recently in Science, the journal of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, said the new evidence suggests the prolonged heavy use of mari- juana, or less frequent use of the more potent hashish, is as- sociated with at least six different types of potential hazard. The research indicated that cannabis: cause damage to rod- shaped bodies of chromatin in the cell could affect the health of the user; cause disruption if cellular metabolism, including synthesis of DNA, the nucleic acid found in all living cells, and may interfere with the functioning of the im- mune system; mimic hormones or act on hormonal regulators to produce a variety of effects ranging from impotence and temporary sterility to the development of female-like breasts in men; with heavy use, severe- ly harmful to the bronchial tract and lungs; sharp personality changes that lead to a marked deterioration in what is nor- mally considered good mental health; and important, may cause potentially irreversible brain damage. Train robber plans cookbook AMERICAN Here's your opportunity to buy elegant imported wallcoverings without paying a premium price or waiting for delivery. We've made a special purchase of some of the most impressive flocked wallcoverings the U.S. has to offer. 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Nor can he be extradited to Britain to serve the remain- der of a 30-year prison sen- tence for his part in the Great Train robbery of 1963 because Brazil has no extradition trea- ty with Britain. He can only be deported to a country that will not extra- dite him to Britain, a court here has ruled. The Brazilian justice minis- try announced in August that it could not find such a coun- try. So Biggs, at least tempo- rarily, remains in Brazil. His only crime according to Brazilian law is that he entered the country under the assumed name of Nichael Haynes. He is seeking permission to take work in Brazil. Pilot landed in U.S., claim Americans WASHINGTON (CP) A Saskatchewan pilot, whose run-in with the United States border patrol a week ago touched off a question in the House of Commons, was on U.S. territory at the time of the incident, a U.S. state department official said today. First reports indicated the pilot, W. Edward Gross, land- ed his plane in Canada and was taken across the border by U.S. enforcement officers. The official said today no charges are pending against Gross or passenger Ira Heebrin, both of Glen Bain, Sask., and that as far as U.S. agencies are concerned, the incident is closed. Gross was fined a total of by the U.S. customs department. The incident was raised in the house Oct. 1 by Les Ben- jamin, New Democratic Par- ty member for Centre, who said his informa- tion was that Gross had land- ed "on a Canadian airstrip south of Estevan, Sask., adja- cent to the Canada-U-S. border." Benjainin said he was told that Gross "was accosted by the U.S. border patrol, es- corted across the border, threatened with confiscation of his aircraft and had to leave' a deposit on an alleged f 000 fine." The state department of- ficial said "the story from our border patrol people is that this airstrip literally straddles the "The plane landed and tax- ied into U.S. territory, right up to a parked border patrol car and the pilot be said. Quoting from the border pa- trol report, the official said: "W. Edward Grjoss was on U.S. territory daring the in- cident reported. He landed on a strip which straddles the border near Noonan, N.D. "Gross stated that he had tried to notify Minot, N.D., by radio to obtain flight clearance, but had not been successful. Customs fined Gross for failure to give advance notice of flight and assessed him an additional inspection fee. There is no in- formation on any alleged f 000 fine or any further pend- ing charges against Gross."