Pubdate: Tue, 10 Sep 2002
Source: Detroit Free Press (MI)
Contact:  2002 Detroit Free Press
Author: Tim Beck
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Canada)
Bookmark: (Decrim/Legalization)


In 1972, the Schaeffer Commission, a panel of prominent scientists, doctors
and government officials appointed by President Richard Nixon to study the
marijuana phenomenon, also recommended marijuana be legalized. Nixon
disavowed the recommendation because it was not what he wanted to hear. 

Now, a panel of experts has reached the same conclusion in Canada.
Hopefully, in this instance, the Canadian government will do the right thing
and implement the recommendations. 

However, I do believe the claim that marijuana is a gateway drug that leads
young people to go on to harder stuff is true, albeit for a different
reason. Marijuana is the most readily available illegal drug in America, and
it is fairly easy for most young people to obtain. When public officials
exaggerate the dangers of marijuana, it undermines the credibility of the
entire system. 

In essence, when a young person experiments with marijuana and the predicted
horrors do not occur, it then becomes a much easier leap for a youngster to
move on to the next level -- cocaine, ecstasy, PCP and other truly dangerous

Tim Beck

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