Pubdate: Mon, 21 Mar 2005
Source: StarPhoenix, The (CN SN)
Copyright: 2005 The StarPhoenix
Author: Geoff Galloway
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Canada)
Bookmark: (Decrim/Legalization)


Thanks for letting the cat out of the bag in your editorial Tragedy no time 
to rewrite laws (SP, March 5). Of course "legalizing and controlling the 
production, distribution and use of marijuana" would end criminal involvement.

We have only to compare it with tobacco: Both can be grown easily in 
Saskatchewan, but in spite of the high taxes on tobacco you don't often see 
people growing their own. Governments have refrained from making it 
illegal; effective, isn't it?

Although marijuana use dates from at least 2700 B.C., it only became a 
problem 50 years ago when it was mistakenly classified, along with LSD and 
heroin, as addictive. This was refuted by the LeDain report in the 1970s 
and more recently in the Senate report. Both showed the government of the 
day the right way to go, and both were ignored.

Making marijuana use illegal is the cause of the problem, not the solution. 
First, it bestows on marijuana an undeserved aura of "cool" -- the kind of 
publicity that cannot be bought. Second, it drives up the price to 
astronomical levels, setting the stage for a takeover by organized crime.

Dealers are able to pass on to the taxpayers the costs of promotion and 
supply management; they use Ottawa as their advertising agency, and the 
police as their means of limiting production.

There can be no doubt that the current policy is wrong, and that persisting 
with it will cause the illegal trade to expand in proportion to the efforts 
made to curb it. Your editorial showed you've got the message. Let us hope 
some government politicians do the same.

Geoff Galloway

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