Pubdate: Wed, 03 Nov 2004
Source: Castlegar Citizen (CN BC)
Copyright: 2004 Castlegar Citizen.
Author: Robert Sharpe
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Canada)
Bookmark: (Methamphetamine)
Bookmark: (Youth)


Dear Editor,

Regarding Dr. Dave Hepburn's Oct 20 op-ed, crystal meth is the latest 
dangerous drug to be making headlines, but it won't be the last until 
policy makers acknowledge the drug war's inherent failure.

Drug policies modeled after alcohol prohibition have given rise to a 
youth-oriented black market.  Illegal drug dealers don't ID for age, but 
they do recruit minors immune to adult sentences.  So much for protecting 
the children.

Throwing more money at the problem is no solution.

Attempts to limit the supply of drugs while demand remains constant only 
increase the profitability of drug trafficking.

For addictive drugs like meth, a spike in street prices leads desperate 
addicts to increase criminal activity to feed desperate habits.  The drug 
war doesn't fight crime, it fuels crime.

Taxing and regulating marijuana, the most popular illicit drug, is a 
cost-effective alternative to never-ending drug war.  As long as marijuana 
distribution remains in the hands of organized crime, consumers will 
continue to come into contact with sellers of hard drugs like meth.

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

Given that marijuana is arguably safer than legal alcohol - the plant has 
never been shown to cause an overdose death - it makes no sense to waste 
tax dollars on failed policies that finance organized crime and facilitate 
the use of hard drugs.

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

Robert Sharpe, MPA Policy Analyst Common Sense for Drug Policy Washington, 
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