Pubdate: Wed, 16 Apr 2003
Source: Airdrie Echo (CN AB)
Copyright: 2003 Airdrie Echo
Author: Robert Sharpe
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Canada)
Bookmark: (Decrim/Legalization)


Dear Editor:

Hazardous marijuana grow operations are a direct result of marijuana 
prohibition. Legitimate farmers do not steal electricity to grow produce in 
the basements of rented homes.

If legal, growing marijuana would be less profitable than farming tomatoes.

As it stands, the drug war distorts market forces such that an easily grown 
weed is literally worth its weight in gold.

Rather than continue to subsidize organized crime, Canadian policy makers 
should ignore the reefer madness hysteria of the U.S. government and 
instead look to their own Senate for guidance.

In the words of Senator Pierre Claude Nolin, "Scientific evidence 
overwhelmingly indicates that cannabis is substantially less harmful than 
alcohol and should be treated not as a criminal issue, but as a social and 
public health issue."

There is a big difference between condoning marijuana use and protecting 
children from drugs. Decriminalization acknowledges the social reality of 
marijuana use and frees users from the stigma of life-shattering criminal 
records. What's really needed is a regulated market with age controls.

Separating the hard and soft drug markets is critical.

As long as marijuana distribution remains in the hands of organized crime, 
consumers will continue to come into contact with such addictive drugs as 

This "gateway" is the direct result of a fundamentally flawed policy.

Drug policy may send the wrong message to children, but I like to think the 
children are more important than the message.

Robert Sharpe, Program officer with the Washington-based Drug Policy Alliance.
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MAP posted-by: Terry Liittschwager