Pubdate: Fri, 21 Dec 2001
Source: Nunatsiaq News (CN NT)
Copyright: 2001 Nortext Publishing Corporation
Author: Robert Sharpe


RCMP efforts to eradicate the marijuana trade are no doubt well-intended, 
but ultimately counter productive.

The drug war's distortion of basic supply and demand dynamics makes an 
easily grown weed literally worth its weight in gold. Canadian tax dollars 
are being wasted on anti-drug strategies that only make marijuana growing 
more profitable.

And let's not kid ourselves about protecting children. The thriving black 
market has no controls for age, making it easier for teenagers to buy 
illegal drugs than to buy beer. Politicians need to stop worrying about the 
message drug policy reform sends to children and start thinking about the 
children themselves.

There are cost-effective alternatives to the failed drug war. In Europe, 
the Netherlands has successfully reduced overall drug use by replacing 
marijuana prohibition with regulation. Separating the hard and soft drug 
markets and establishing age controls for marijuana has proven more 
effective than zero tolerance.

As the most popular illicit drug in Canada, marijuana provides the black 
market contacts that introduce users to drugs like heroin. This "gateway" 
is the direct result of a fundamentally flawed policy.

Given that marijuana is arguably safer than legal alcohol - pot has never 
been shown to cause an overdose death - it makes no sense to waste tax 
dollars on policies that finance organized crime groups like the Hells 
Angels and facilitate the use of addictive hard drugs.

Robert Sharpe

Program Officer

The Lindesmith Center-Drug Policy Foundation

Washington, DC
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