Pubdate: Thu, 23 Nov 2000
Source: Irish Examiner (Ireland)
Copyright: Examiner Publications Ltd, 2000
Section: Letters
Author: Robert Sharpe


NOT only should medical cannabis be available to patients in need, but 
adult recreational use should also be regulated.

Leaving the distribution of popular recreational drugs in the hands of 
organised crime puts children at great risk. Unlike legitimate businesses 
that sell liquor, illegal drug dealers working the black market do not ID 
for age, but they do push profitable, addictive drugs like heroin when 
given the chance.

Sensible regulation is needed to undermine the black market and restrict 
access to drugs. Cannabis is the most popular illicit drug. Compared with 
legal drugs like alcohol and tobacco, cannabis is relatively harmless. Yet 
cannabis prohibition is deadly. While there is nothing inherent in cannabis 
that compels users to try harder drugs, its black market status puts users 
in contact with criminals who push them. As long as cannabis remains 
illegal, the criminal distribution network will ensure that children sample 
every toxic poison concocted by drug pushers.

Replacing cannabis prohibition with regulation would do a better job 
protecting children than the failed drug war.

Robert Sharpe, MPA,
Programme Officer,
Lindesmith Drug Policy Foundation,
4455 Connecticut Avenue,
Washington, DC, USA.
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