Pubdate: Thu, 19 Sep 2002
Source: Telegram, The (CN NF)
Copyright: 2002 The Telegram
Author: Robert Sharpe


Letter writer Jeffrey F. Cuff ("Marijuana editorial flawed," Sept. 10) is 
absolutely right about unfounded fears regarding the Canadian Senate's 
recommendation to end marijuana prohibition.

These valid albeit misguided concerns are addressed at length in the Senate 
report, which critics have either failed to read or simply chosen to 
ignore. After months of research the Special Committee on Illegal Drugs 
concluded that marijuana is relatively benign, marijuana prohibition 
contributes to organized crime, and law enforcement efforts have little 
impact on patterns of use.

Consider the experience of the United States, the former land of the free 
and current record-holder in citizens incarcerated. The steady rise in 
police searches on public transit, drug-sniffing dogs in schools, and 
suspicionless drug testing have led to a loss of civil liberties, while 
failing miserably at preventing drug use.

Based on findings that criminal records are inappropriate as health 
interventions and ineffective as deterrents, a majority of European Union 
countries have decriminalized marijuana. Despite marijuana prohibition, and 
perhaps because of forbidden fruit appeal, lifetime use of marijuana is 
higher in the U.S. than any European country.

Unlike alcohol, marijuana has never been shown to cause an overdose death, 
nor does it share the addictive properties of tobacco.

The short-term health effects of marijuana are inconsequential compared to 
the long-term effects of criminal records.

Unfortunately, marijuana represents the counterculture to misguided 
reactionaries intent on legislating their version of morality.

Canada should follow the lead of Europe and Just Say No to the American 

The results of a comparative study of European and U.S. rates of drug use 
can be found at:

For more information on the Canadian Senate report please visit: 

Robert Sharpe

Program Officer

Drug Policy Alliance

Washington, D.C. 
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom