Pubdate: Tue, 14 Oct 2003
Source: Montreal Gazette (CN QU)
Copyright: 2003 The Gazette, a division of Southam Inc.
Author: Matthew M. Elrod


The Gazette:

Columnist Henry Aubin's theories on what inspires adolescents to experiment 
with cannabis (Column, Oct.9, "Lax attitudes on dope lead to stoned kids") 
are widely held, but they are not supported by the evidence.

Teen usage rates in the dozen U.S. states that have decriminalized cannabis 
remain the same or below those in states that have maintained criminal 
penalties. Similarly, Australian jurisdictions that decriminalized cannabis 
more than a decade ago have witnessed no corresponding increase in teen use.

More strikingly, teen usage rates in the Netherlands, where adult purchase 
and consumption of cannabis in coffee shops is tolerated, are well below 
usage rates here in North America, where teens consistently report cannabis 
is easier to obtain than beer. (Adults interested in acquiring a sample to 
see if it palliates their aches and pains would be well advised to approach 
an adolescent relative or acquaintance.)

I wonder why prohibitionists defend the status quo as the best way to 
protect kids. Why are they in favour of abdicating control to criminals, 
who sell drugs of unknown potency and purity on commission to anyone of any 
age, any time, anywhere, no questions asked? We have more control over cat 
food than we do over so-called controlled drugs and substances.

Matthew M. Elrod

Victoria, B.C.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Beth Wehrman