Pubdate: Tue, 29 Aug 2006
Source: Irish Independent (Ireland)
Copyright: Independent Newspapers (Ireland) Ltd
Author: Dearbhail McDonald
Bookmark: (Cannabis)
Bookmark: (Decrim/Legalization)
Bookmark: (Heroin)
Bookmark: (Law Enforcement Against Prohibition)


A MCDONALD's Big Mac is a greater threat to public health than 
cannabis - and Ireland should lift its ban on hard drugs, a 
controversial former American law enforcement official declared yesterday

Ex-US police chief and anti-prohibition campaigner Jerry Cameron 
urged the Government to legalise marijuana and heroin if it wanted to 
win the war on drugs.

But he drew the ire of anti-drugs campaigners who called for an 
investigation into his appearance at a public forum in Dublin.

Cameron, a spokesperson for the Law Enforcement Against Prohibition 
(LEAP), a North American group of police officers campaigning for the 
decriminalisation of drugs, told Irish health and justice officials 
that they should stop the prohibition war on drugs and place fat 
police at McDonald's restaurants instead.

"Marijuana is the most demonised and most innocuous drug in the 
world, but it is not a dangerous drug," said Mr Cameron, speaking at 
Rethinking The War on Drugs, in Dublin yesterday.

"Marijuana is not a gateway drug. Every year, five times as many 
people die from alcohol-related illnesses than from illicit drugs and 
the misuse of legal pharmaceutical drugs than marijuana. Fifteen 
times as many die from poor diets and activity patterns and 20 times 
as many die from tobacco."

Cameron, a 17-year police veteran and lecturer in drug interdiction 
at the University of North Florida, said that the American government 
has lost its 40-year, $1 trillion war on drugs and has handed control 
to armed criminal gangs and to global terrorists through a failing 
policy of prohibition.

He urged the Government to find an Irish solution to an Irish problem 
through a "quantum leap" of decriminalisation. "As long as the 
distribution and manufacture of drugs is left in criminal hands, you 
are going to have criminal consequences. You have to remove the 
profit motive. It is only when you remove the profit motive that you 
have some control."

Cameron's visit has led to a war of words between Merchant's Quay, 
Ireland's largest drug treatment centre which hosted the conference, 
and anti-drugs campaigners who have called for an official 
investigation into his appearance.

"It is highly questionable that Merchants Quay a drug treatment 
centre, should hold such a political forum," said Grainne Kenny, 
president of Eurad, the Europe against Drugs group.
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MAP posted-by: Beth Wehrman