Pubdate: Thu, 12 Dec 2002
Source: Aldergrove Star (CN BC)
Copyright: 2002 Central Fraser Valley Star Publishing Ltd.
Author: Robert Sharpe
Note: Title by MAP editor

Editor, The Star, Sir,

In response to the White Says Canada's Drug Treatment Strategy Headed Down 
Wrong Road article:

Local MP Randy White visits a Mexican prison that warehouses addicts and 
returns home to praise the tough-on-drugs approach of Mexico and the U.S. 
Contrary to what the media hype over "BC Bud" would have the public 
believe, the vast majority of marijuana imported into the U.S. comes from 
Mexico. The police state approach to public health problems is a proven 

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

Based on findings that criminal records are inappropriate as health 
interventions, 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.

The latest drug war fiasco to come out of the U.S. is "compassionate 
coercion." This expansion of zero tolerance does not distinguish between 
occasional use and chronic abuse. Jail sentences and open-ended drug 
testing are applied exclusively to consumers of non-traditional drugs like 
marijuana. Alcoholics and tobacco smokers need not fear President George W. 
Bush's legendary "compassion."

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

Robert Sharpe

Program Officer, Drug Policy Alliance,

Washington, DC 
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MAP posted-by: Alex