Pubdate: Mon, 16 Sep 2002
Source: Peak, The (CN BC)
Copyright: 2002 Peak Publications Society
Author: Robert Sharpe
Bookmark: (Canadian Senate Committee on 
Illegal Drugs)
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Canada)
Bookmark: (Decrim/Legalization)


Apparently Marc Ander didn't bother to read the Senate's report on 
marijuana before writing in to condemn it. After months of research, the 
Senate's Special Committee on Illegal Drugs concluded that marijuana is 
relatively benign, marijuana prohibition contributes to organised 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 
baseless 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 decriminalised 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 Inquisition.

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

Robert Sharpe, M.P.A, Program Officer, Drug Policy Alliance
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MAP posted-by: Terry Liittschwager