Pubdate: Thu, 21 Mar 2002
Source: Hamilton Spectator (CN ON)
Copyright: The Hamilton Spectator 2002
Author: Richard Marchese, Fairfield, N.J and Wayne Phillips, Hamilton


RE: 'New politics of pot emerging' (March 19). The Spectator's Rob Faulkner 
writes: "The drug trade has always had links to organized crime." How 
pervasive the big lie has become.

In fact, criminals only became involved in the natural behaviour of humans 
to enjoy plants and plant extracts after the prohibitionists handed them 
the greatest money-making tool they have ever beheld.

It can even be said that, before prohibition, there was no such thing as 
organized crime.

 From Al Capone to Osama bin Laden, prohibitionists have much to answer for.

Parroting the prohibitionists' party line linking drugs -- instead of the 
real culprit, prohibition -- to crime shows how well their propaganda has 
infected the public's consciousness.

Richard Marchese

Fairfield, N.J.


RE: 'New politics of pot emerging' (March 19). This thought-provoking 
article by The Spectator's Rob Faulkner illustrates how relatively 
innocuous and socially tolerated cannabis actually is.

If that were translated into humane, progressive legislation, cannabis 
could become a taxed commodity whose returns could be channelled back into 
drug education, research, treatment and rehabilitation centres, and the 
creation of jobs, jobs, and more jobs.

Relatively few who favour cannabis prohibition give much regard to the fact 
that it is prohibition itself which has fuelled the black-market 
entrepreneur and "organized crime."

By providing an environment conducive to dictating an untaxed inflated 
value rather than the intrinsic worth of this herb, government legislation 
is directly responsible for the profitability of grow-ops which attract 
"organized crime."

Reconsidering Canada's antiquated cannabis policies would also allow the 
money currently spent on enforcement, such as Operation Green Sweep and 
prosecution thereof (in 1999-2000 it was in excess of $450 million), to be 
channelled into other areas of policing and security-related concerns, or 
to health care, education, and social concerns.

Wayne Phillips

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