Pubdate: Fri, 24 Mar 2006
Source: Salmon Arm Observer (CN BC)
Copyright: 2006 Salmon Arm Observer
Author: Russell Barth


When it comes to drug abuse, health care professionals and social
workers usually advocate medical treatment and therapy.

Many high-ranking police and government officials, however, still
insist that the best way to prevent drug use - and to win "The War On
Drugs" - is to put more people in jail, and for longer periods of
time. They are advocating an extremely violent punishment for a
non-violent crime.

They are also "sending a message" to the the rest of us, which is that
they are in charge, and are willing to do any one of us terrible
physical harm for the smallest infraction.

There is no good reason to take policy advice from someone with such
monstrous opinions. My understanding is that jail is a dirty, violent
place where one comes into contact with deadly diseases, sexual
predators, and hard drugs.

The terrible psychological effects alone are enough to badly damage
most people permanently. This could be the reason why some judges are
giving light sentences for marijuana crimes.

They are sensible enough to realize that sending someone into a
potentially deadly environment for something that is essentially a
"consumer choice," is much like saying that it is okay to beat your
teenager half to death for sneaking into the liquor cabinet.

Not only does imprisonment serve as an unnecessary short-term
financial burden to society, it will probably cause more long-term
harm to the prisoner than good, along with a greater cost to taxpayers.

This could also be the reason why the law is no deterrent.

Deep down - whether they admit it or not - everyone knows that
prohibition is not only an unsound policy, it is completely absurd.

We don't need the government and police to act as a "stern father,"
and all science and history indicate that when it comes to
recreational substances, regulation and education work better than

It is very frightening to think that our police officers - who get
their salaries from the taxpayers and are supposed to protect and
serve - would like to see someone go to a horribly violent place,
simply for possessing marijuana, or growing some in their home.

Keeping the population obedient to the state under the threat of
violence or death is akin to terrorism, in my view.

There is one group of law-enforcement officials that has a different
view, however.

They are called Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) and they
can be found at

Russell Barth

Federal Medical Marijuana License Holder, Ottawa
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