Pubdate: Sun, 02 Sep 2001
Source: Quesnel Cariboo Observer (CN BC)
Copyright: 2001 Quesnel Cariboo Observer
Author: Robert Sharpe



In response to the Observer's August 22 article, "Medical Cannabis for 
Sale" Not only should medical marijuana be made available to patients in 
need, but adult recreational use should be regulated as well.

North America's marijuana laws are based on culture and xenophobia, not 
health outcomes. The first marijuana laws were enacted in response to 
Mexican migration during the early 1900's.

An Edmonton woman writing under the pen name Janey Canuck first warned 
Canadians about the dreaded marijuana and its association with non-white 

The sensationalist yellow journalism of William Randolph Hearst led to its 
criminalization in the United States.

Whites did not even begin to smoke marijuana until a soon-to-be entrenched 
government bureaucracy began funding reefer madness propaganda.

When threatened, the drug war gravy train predictably decries the "message" 
that drug policy reform sends to children. There is a big difference 
between condoning marijuana use and protecting children from drugs.

Decriminalization acknowledges the social reality of marijuana use and 
frees users from the stigma of life-shattering criminal records. What's 
really needed is a regulated market with age controls. Right now kids have 
an easier time buying pot than beer.

Although marijuana is relatively harmless compared to most legal drugs -- 
the plant has never been shown to cause an overdose death -- marijuana 
prohibition is deadly.

As the most popular illicit drug, marijuana provides the black market 
contacts that introduce youth to addictive drugs like heroin. Current drug 
policy is a gateway policy.

Drug policy reform may send the wrong message to children, but I like to 
think the children themselves are more important than the message.

Opportunistic "tough on drugs" politicians would no doubt disagree.

Robert Sharpe, M.P.A.
Program Officer
The Lindesmith Center-Drug Policy Foundation
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