Pubdate: Wed, 25 Aug 1999
Source: Sackville Tribune-Post (CN NK)
Copyright: 1999 The Sackville Tribune-Post Ltd.


Marijuana crops have had a bumper year, and police departments across the 
province are reporting seizures of all sizes.

And, as reported in the media last week, New Brunswick's top cop says his 
officers are fighting a David and Goliath-style battle against the booming 
pot business.

RCMP assistant commissioner Tim Quigley listed the societal ills brought on 
by marijuana use, and how it needs to be stopped.

That got us to thinking back to the U.S.'s Prohibition days of the 1920s, 
and the parallels between it and the war on drugs that rages today.

Prohibition not only failed in it goals, but added to the problems it was 
intended to solve.

The law called for all importing, exporting, transporting, selling, and 
manufacturing of intoxicating liquor to end. The intent was to reduce the 
consumption of alcohol thereby reducing crime and corruption, and solve 
social problems.

But it was ineffective because it was unenforceable, caused the explosive 
growth of crime, and actually increased the amount of alcohol consumption.

These laws were flagrantly violated by bootleggers and commoners alike. 
Bootleggers smuggled liquor from oversees and Canada, stole it from 
government warehouses, and produced their own. Many people hid their liquor 
in hip flasks, false books, hollow canes, and anything else they could 
find. There were also illegal speak-easies which replaced saloons after the 
start of Prohibition.

The Prohibitionists hoped it would decrease drunkenness and thereby 
decrease the crime rate, especially in large cities. Although towards the 
beginning of Prohibition this purpose seemed to be fulfilled, the crime 
rate soon skyrocketed to nearly twice that of the pre-Prohibition period. 
Major crimes such as homicides, and burglaries, increased 24 per cent 
between 1920 and 1921.

Prohibition made alcohol, which previously had been perfectly legal, a 
crime. The same has been done with marijuana.

Those vehemently opposed to the legalization of the drug have posed the 
question: Would you want the pilot of your flight to be high on pot?

Of course, the answer is no. But neither would we want the pilot to be 
drunk from alcohol, which again is perfectly legal providing one has 
reached the age of majority.

Somewhere in the gray area is the notion of personal responsibility. We are 
all responsible for how we treat our bodies. What we eat and drink and 
otherwise ingest.

Perhaps it's time the law on marijuana is rethought.
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MAP posted-by: Larry Stevens