Pubdate: Tue, 20 Nov 2001
Source: Kitchener-Waterloo Record (CN ON)
Copyright: 2001 Kitchener-Waterloo Record
Author: Neil MacNaughton
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Canada)
Bookmark: (Decrim/Legalization)


Regarding pot and other illegal drugs, both Jeff Outhit and Liz Monteiro 
reported last week on stories about illegal drugs: dealers driving away 
customers in downtown areas and dangerous wiring practices causing a fire 
in a marijuana grow house.

These events and thousands like them are caused by our prohibition method 
of drug regulation.

Senator Edward Lawson, a member of the Special Senate Committee on Illegal 
Drugs, recently suggested we sell cocaine and heroin in liquor stores.

Two serious problems would be immediately solved. No longer would drugs be 
sold on the streets. What alcohol user would prefer to buy booze on the 
street instead of from a liquor store?

Drug users know that they risk buying an adulterated product on the street. 
In fact, the vast majority of drug deaths are caused by drugs that aren't 
what they claim to be. Cocaine and heroin can be cut with household 
cleansers. Ecstasy gets cut with PCP. Dealers, who dilute pure product to 
increase revenues, care little about their clients or their reputations. 
Legitimate drug manufacturers do care about reputation.

If allowed, big name pharmaceutical companies like Bayer or Pfizer could 
take the time to produce clean drugs.

Arguably the safest drug, from a health as well as buying perspective, is 
marijuana. As it is a plant and is sold in its natural form, it is 
difficult to cut with other chemicals and doing so does not increase its 
profitability. The trouble with illegal pot is it gives rise to grow 
operations like the one that caused the house fire on Westheights Drive. If 
we regulated, rather than criminalized, marijuana growing and selling, we 
would rid ourselves of grow operations and drug dealers.

It's time we let farmers grow marijuana instead of criminals who endanger 
our neighbourhoods. It's time we let legitimate drug manufacturers produce 
heroin, cocaine, ecstasy and LSD, instead of shady basement chemists.

Neil MacNaughton

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