Pubdate: Wed, 17 Jul 2002
Source: Hamilton Spectator (CN ON)
Copyright: The Hamilton Spectator 2002
Author: Wayne Phillips
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Canada)
Bookmark: (Decrim/Legalization)


RE: 'Britain is right to ease law on pot possession' (July 12).

This Spectator editorial is right in stating: "Decriminalization (of 
marijuana) would allow police to focus resources better. It would add more 
credibility to our resolve against cocaine and heroin and all the 
acronym-labelled chemical cocktails. It is, in the end, the right thing to do."

However, regulation of cannabis remains a superior solution. 
Decriminalization of simple possession of cannabis would simply establish a 
system of ticketing; fines ultimately could still lead to incarceration, 
either because of failure to pay or the number of times caught. 
Decriminalization would not address the multitude of problems inherent with 

Dr. Patrick Smith, of Toronto's Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, 
told the Senate special committee on illegal drugs: "If we discovered three 
drugs today and they were alcohol, tobacco and marijuana, there isn't an 
expert in the country who would recommend that marijuana be the one that is 
banned based on individual and societal harm."

On that basis, prohibition of cannabis is a mistake and creates problems 
where there need not be any. It is this same policy that is the catalyst 
fuelling marijuana grow operations.

Government could better safeguard the public while striking a major victory 
against illegal grow operations by regulating, licensing and/or taxing 
marijuana like alcohol.

Wayne Phillips, Hamilton.
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