Pubdate: Thu, 06 Apr 2006
Source: Mirror (CN QU)
Copyright: 2006 Communications Gratte-Ciel Ltee
Author: Robert Sharpe
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Canada)
Bookmark: (Decrim/Legalization)


[Re: "The Reefer Man," People, March 23, and "Reefer radness," 
Letters, March 30]: Lost in the debate over marijuana is the ugly 
truth behind marijuana prohibition. North America's marijuana laws 
are based on culture and xenophobia, not science. The original 
marijuana laws were a racist reaction to Mexican migration during the 
early 1900s. Emily Murphy first warned Canadians about the dreaded 
reefer and its association with non-white immigrants. The 
sensationalist yellow journalism of William Randolph Hearst led to 
its criminalization in the United States.

Dire warnings that marijuana inspires homicidal rages have been 
counterproductive at best. Whites did not even begin to smoke 
marijuana until a soon-to-be entrenched government bureaucracy began 
funding reefer madness propaganda. When threatened, the drug war 
gravy train predictably decries the "message" that drug policy reform 
sends to children. There is a big difference between condoning 
marijuana use and protecting children from drugs.

Decriminalization acknowledges the social reality of marijuana and 
frees users from the stigma of criminal records. What's really needed 
is a regulated market with age controls. As long as marijuana 
distribution remains in the hands of organized crime, consumers will 
continue to come into contact with addictive drugs like cocaine. This 
"gateway" is the direct result of a fundamentally flawed policy. Drug 
policy reform may 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, DC
- ---
MAP posted-by: Beth Wehrman