Pubdate: Fri, 20 Sep 2002
Source: Medicine Hat News (CN AB)
Copyright: 2002 Alberta Newspaper Group, Inc.
Author: Kevin Allan


I have some comments on Del Egan's letter. He wrote:

"Legalizing marijuana will not get rid of the black market. We have legal 
cigarettes but that hasn't gotten rid of cigarette smuggling."

Really? Do we have cigarette dealers in all the schools and on the streets 
selling to underage users? There may be cigarette smuggling but it in no 
way compares to the illicit street-level drug trade which we all see when a 
drug is illegal.

"Legalization will not stop violence. The more people we have on drugs, the 
more fighting we will have. We have a major problem with fights in bars 
because of alcohol. Police are never called out to fights in fast-food 
restaurants. Alcohol is the No. 1 cause of domestic violence. Do we really 
want to add another drug to the mix?"

There is no violence associated with marijuana except for the violence 
associated with the prohibition of marijuana. Marijuana has the lowest 
intoxication while alcohol has the highest intoxication of all drugs. What 
causes the violence with alcohol is the intoxication level.

Yes, I choose to use marijuana because I don't like the high intoxication 
of alcohol. Why should I be the criminal? The alcohol user or abuser is 
more dangerous.

"We are told that selling pot in stores will remove profits from the hands 
of organized crime and give it to government. The Americans have a better 
way of taking profits out of the hands of organized crime. They seize the 
assets of criminals and freeze their bank accounts."

So do we but the U.S. has more people in prison than any other so-called 
free and democratic society. Our problems don't even come close to the war 
zone in the U.S. They have about 60 times the police officers killed than 
Canada (it should only be 10 times if things were the same). We don't want 
that in Canada. But we are on that path if we listen to the prohibitionists.

"Legalization of marijuana will mean more crime, more police, more health 
problems, more medical expenses, and a huge jump in taxes to pay for it all."

Again this is false. Legalization will remove the whole black market for 
adult marijuana use in Canada. That's a significant decrease in crime. And 
all the sales will be taxable.

The problem with alcohol is its intoxication level. That problem doesn't 
exist with marijuana. The current problem with marijuana is the total lack 
of control by prohibition.

Kevin Allan

North Vancouver
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