Pubdate: Tue, 26 Dec 2000
Source: Edmonton Sun (CN AB)
Copyright: 2000, Canoe Limited Partnership.
Contact:  #250, 4990-92 Avenue, Edmonton, Alberta, T6B 3A1 Canada
Fax: (780) 468-0139
Author: Robert Sharpe
Note: Parethetical remark by the Sun editor; headline by newshawk


RE: MINDELLE Jacobs' excellent Dec. 14 column, marijuana has been used
medicinally for thousands of years. In 1999 a U.S. government
commissioned Institute of Medicine report concluded that there are
circumstances in which smoking marijuana for medical purposes is
recommended.  Marijuana is one of the most studied plants.
Nonetheless, entrenched interests riding the drug war gravy train
continue to claim further research is needed.

Not only should marijuana be made available to patients for medicinal
purposes, but adult recreational use should be regulated as well. The
reason for this is simple: leaving the distribution of popular
recreational drugs in the hands of organized crime puts children at
risk. The thriving black market is very much youth-oriented. Drug
dealers don't care about age, but they do push profitable, addictive
drugs like heroin.

Sensible regulation is desperately needed to undermine the black
market and restrict access to drugs. Compared to legalized alcohol and
tobacco, marijuana is relatively harmless. While there is nothing
inherent in marijuana that compels users to use harder drugs, its
black-market status puts users in contact with criminals who push
them. Current drug policy is effectively a gateway policy.

Robert Sharpe

(Increasingly docs are allowed to prescribe marijuana for medicinal
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