Pubdate: Thu, 20 Dec 2001
Source: Hope Standard (CN BC)
Copyright: 2001 Hope Standard
Author: Robert Sharpe
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Canada)


Dear Editor,

The hazardous marijuana grow operations mentioned in your Dec. 6th article 
are a direct result of marijuana prohibition, not the plant itself.

Legitimate farmers do not grow produce in the basements of rented homes. 
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 cocaine. Taxing and regulating marijuana, the most popular 
illicit drug, is a cost-effective alternative to the failed drug war. Given 
the local expertise in this area, the tax windfall for B.C. would be 

Robert Sharpe, M.P.A. Program Officer, The Lindesmith Center-Drug Policy 
Foundation, Washington, DC
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MAP posted-by: Terry Liittschwager