Pubdate: Wed, 31 Jul 2002
Source: Calgary Herald (CN AB)
Copyright: 2002 Calgary Herald
Author: Robert Sharpe


Catherine Ford's column on marijuana decriminalization was right on target.

It's clear to me that Canadian policymakers are a lot more honest than 
their counterparts in the United States. Tough-on-drugs politicians in 
Washington have built careers on confusing drug prohibition's collateral 
damage with a relatively harmless plant.

The Canadian Senate's special committee on illegal drugs recently concluded 
that marijuana is relatively benign, marijuana prohibition contributes to 
organized crime, and law enforcement efforts have little impact on patterns 
of use.

What the U.S. government likely fears is its growing isolation; it's the 
current record-holder in number of citizens incarcerated. The U.S. is one 
of the few western countries that uses its criminal justice system to 
destroy the lives of citizens who prefer marijuana to martinis.

That's hardly reason for Canada to waste scarce resources waging the war on 
some drugs.

Robert P. Sharpe
Arlington, Va.
Robert P. Sharpe is a program officer with the Drug Policy Alliance.
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