Pubdate: Tue, 04 Dec 2001
Source: Kitchener-Waterloo Record (CN ON)
Copyright: 2001 Kitchener-Waterloo Record
Author: Robert Sharpe


Kitchener residents concerned about risky home-based marijuana grow 
operations need to consider that the hazards posed are a direct result of 
marijuana prohibition, not the plant itself. Legitimate farmers do not grow 
produce in booby-trapped basements in rented homes.

Kitchener council's commitment to marijuana criminalization guarantees more 
of the very same grow operations the council hopes to eradicate. 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 enforceable age controls. Right 
now kids have an easier time buying pot than beer.

More disturbing is the manner in which marijuana's black market status 
exposes users to sellers of hard drugs. Marijuana may be relatively 
harmless compared to legal alcohol -- the plant has never been shown to 
cause an overdose death -- but marijuana prohibition is deadly.

As long as marijuana distribution remains in the hands of organized crime, 
consumers will continue to come into contact with hard drugs like crack.

Robert Sharpe

Program Officer

The Lindesmith Center-Drug Policy Foundation

Washington, D.C.
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