Pubdate: Wed, 13 Apr 2005
Source: Ottawa Sun (CN ON)
Copyright: 2005 Canoe Limited Partnership
Author: Eugene Oscapella
Note: Parenthetical remark by the Sun editor, headline by newshawk.


RE "KHAT'S out of the bag in Ottawa" (April 7): Canada first criminalized 
khat in 1997. It is still legal in many other countries, including the UK.

What has been the consequence of criminalizing khat? Its price rises 
because of the black market created by its prohibition, making it more 
profitable to sell -- and more expensive to buy. Hence, buyers in Ottawa 
must now pay exorbitant prices for it, causing economic distress in the 
community. Police resources are wasted going after the now illegal drug, 
and criminals will eventually move in to take their share of the black 
market profits that our legislators so wisely ensured by prohibiting khat.

Perhaps khat users can become violent but, as one of those interviewed for 
your article rightly notes, alcohol has the same effect. All we have done 
- -- as we have done with hundreds of other substances since we first banned 
opium in 1908 -- is expand a problem through drug prohibition.

Eugene Oscapella

Canadian Foundation for Drug Policy

(We've heard the tune before)
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