Pubdate: Fri, 23 Aug 2002
Source: Standard, The (St. Catharines, CN ON)
Copyright: 2002, The Standard
Author: Robert Sharpe


Unfortunately, a review of marijuana legislation would open up a Pandora's 
box most politicians would just as soon avoid. North America's marijuana 
laws are based on culture and xenophobia, not science.

The first marijuana laws were enacted in response to Mexican migration 
during the early 1900s. An Edmonton woman writing under the pen name Janey 
Canuck first warned Canadians about dread marijuana and its association 
with non-white immigrants. The sensationalist yellow journalism of William 
Randolph Hearst led to its criminalization in the United States.

Dire warnings that marijuana inspires homicidal rages have been 
counterproductive at best. Whites did not even begin to smoke marijuana 
until a soon-to-be entrenched government bureaucracy began funding reefer 
madness propaganda.

The reefer madness myths have long been discredited, forcing the drug war 
gravy train to spend millions of tax dollars on politicized research, 
trying to find harm in a relatively harmless plant.

The direct experience of millions of marijuana consumers contradicts the 
sensationalistic myths used to justify marijuana prohibition. Illegal drug 
use is the only public health issue wherein key stakeholders are not only 
ignored, but actively persecuted and incarcerated.

In terms of medical marijuana, those stakeholders happen to be cancer and 
AIDS patients.

Robert Sharpe, M.P.A

Program Officer

Drug Policy Alliance, 15th Street, NW  Washington, D.C.
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