Pubdate: Wed, 31 May 2000
Source: Globe and Mail (Canada)
Copyright: 2000, The Globe and Mail Company
Author: Robert Sharpe


Washington -- Methamphetamine is the latest synthetic drug to be making
headlines, but it won't be the last. As long as marijuana remains illegal,
the established criminal distribution network will ensure that North
America's children can sample every new poison concocted by drug pushers.
Current drug policy is effectively a gateway drug policy.

As the most popular illicit drug, marijuana provides the black-market
connections that introduce youth to drugs such as meth. While there is
nothing inherent in the marijuana plant that compels users to try harder
drugs, its black-market status puts users in contact with criminals who push
harder drugs.

Given that marijuana is increasingly recognized as being safer than alcohol
- -- it is impossible to die from a marijuana overdose -- why not end
marijuana prohibition? The answer, of course, is culture. The marijuana leaf
represents the counterculture to those North Americans who would like to
turn the clock back to the 1950s. This misguided culture war has gone on
long enough. As counterintuitive as it may seem, legalizing marijuana would
both limit access and separate the hard and soft drug markets that serve to
introduce youth to the truly deadly drugs.

Robert Sharpe, Students for Sensible Drug Policy, George Washington
- ---
MAP posted-by: Doc-Hawk