Pubdate: Thu, 01 Jun 2006
Source: Review, The (CN ON)
Copyright: 2006 Osprey Media Group Inc.
Author: Russell Barth


"The war on small drug dealers is one that should - and must -
continue." Rarely has a more foolish line been published in Canadian
letters. Apparently the author has never read the 2002 Senate
Committee Report on Drugs, or heard of Al Capone.

There is a misconception that just because a drug is illegal, it is
more dangerous than a "legal" drug. Junk food alone kills more people
each year than all illegal drugs combined. So do alcohol, tobacco, and
prescription drugs. Should these things be prohibited as well?

In the last century, alcohol prohibition made gangsters rich,
increased gun violence and police corruption, endangered children and
cost a fortune. When alcohol was regulated, the gangs went out of
business, crime dropped, safety increased and tax revenue rose
dramatically. Alcohol consumption - especially among kids - was also

Today, drug prohibition is causing all of the same problems, yet
government and police insist that the way to win the war on certain
drugs is to continue with - and increase spending on - a completely
failed and expensive policy. It leads me to wonder just which side of
the law they are really on.

Every time a street dealer is busted, there are 10 low-rank thugs
ready to take his place. The one and only way to put the gangs out of
business is to regulate all drugs like alcohol. As long as their most
lucrative commodities are illegal, they will thrive, and settle their
differences with guns.

In The Netherlands - where marijuana use is tolerated - they have
lower rates of all drug use, and a teen drug use rate less than half
that of North America. Their gun and property crime rates are also
much lower. Clearly, they are doing something right and we are not.

Taking the drug business out of the hands of teens and criminals and
putting it into the hands of responsible adults is socially

Generating tax revenue from that industry is fiscally conservative and
using that money to teach kids why they should avoid drugs is morally

By not legalizing and regulating drugs like alcohol, we subsidize
criminals, make drugs easier for kids to access than either tobacco or
alcohol, waste valuable police resources and billions of dollars
annually, deprive ourselves of a source of valuable medicine and miss
out on billions in annual tax revenue.

Drug prohibition is not only a failed policy, it actually caused
problems that never existed before it was implemented. How does that
protect us?

Russell Barth


Federal Medical Marijuana License Holder
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