Pubdate: Wed, 04 Dec 2002
Source: Merritt Herald (CN BC)
Copyright: 2002 Merritt Herald
Author: Robert Sharpe


Re: Cops bust grow-ops,, Nov. 27, 2002.

Operation Greensweep is part of the problem, not the solution. Merritt's 
hazardous marijuana grow operations are a direct result of marijuana 

Legitimate farmers do not steal electricity to grow produce in the 
basements of rented homes. If legal, growing marijuana would be less 
profitable then farming tomatoes. As it stands, the drug war distorts 
market forces such that an easily grown weed is literally worth its weight 
in gold.

Rather than continue to subsidize organized crime, policymakers should heed 
the recommendation of the Canadian Senate. In the words of Senator Pierre 
Claude Nolin: "Scientific evidence overwhelmingly indicates that cannabis 
is substantially less harmful than alcohol and should be treated not as a 
criminal issue but as a social and public health issue."

Consider the experience of the former land of the free and current record 
holder in citizens incarcerated. Police searches on public transit, 
drug-sniffing dogs in schools, and random drug testing have led to a loss 
of civil liberties in the United States, while failing miserably at 
preventing marijuana use.

Based on findings that criminal records are inappropriate as health 
interventions, a majority of European Union countries have decriminalized 
marijuana. Despite marijuana prohibition and perhaps because of forbidden 
fruit appeal, lifetime use of marijuana is higher in the U.S. than any 
European country.

Unlike alcohol, marijuana has never been shown to cause an overdose death, 
nor does it share the addictive properties of tobacco. Unfortunately, 
marijuana represents the counterculture to misguided reactionaries intent 
on legislating their version of morality. Canada should follow the lead of 
Europe and Just Say No to the American Inquisition.

Robert Sharpe

Program Officer, Drug Policy Alliance

Washington, D.C., USA

Ed. note: Since running a story about the police arrests several e-mails 
have been sent directly to the Merritt Herald from online readers south of 
the border. Rather than letting Americans tell us which of our laws we 
should keep, are there any Canadians out there who feel the same way? Let's 
hear from you!