Pubdate: Wed, 18 Dec 2002
Source: National Post (Canada)
Copyright: 2002 Southam Inc.
Author: Dan Gardner
Alert: Please Help Canadians Understand What We Really Believe
Bookmarks: (Cannabis - Canada)


While I respect Jack Granatstein's opinions in other matters, he
clearly needs to learn more about drug policy (Potheads in Power, Dec.

In Canada, three-quarters of all drug offences involve marijuana. A
little more than half of all drug offences involve possession of pot.
By one estimate, Canada spends $1-billion a year on drug-law
enforcement and yet, according to the auditor-general and many other
informed sources, the government has little evidence to show what all
that spending is accomplishing. Imagine setting up one gun registry a
year, every year, for decades, and you have some idea of the folly of
the status quo.

Europeans understand this, which is why marijuana prohibition is being
eased out across most of that continent. The results are

Not only are the Europeans ceasing to waste tax dollars, but liberal
marijuana policies combined with harm reduction approaches to hard
drugs are reaping major social benefits. Holland, for example, has by
far the most liberal drug laws in the world, and Holland also has an
extremely low rate of both problem drug use and drug-related deaths.
Europe combined has a rate of drug-related deaths which is less than
half that in the United States -- and the European rate is stable
while the American death rate has risen steadily for two decades.

But Dr. Granatstein would have us stick to the American-led status quo
because any change would draw the wrath of the United States and, hey,
this is an unimportant subject. With money and lives at stake, he
couldn't be more wrong.

Dan Gardner, Kanata, Ont.
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