Pubdate: Fri, 31 Aug 2007
Source: Victoria Times-Colonist (CN BC)
Copyright: 2007 Times Colonist
Author: Fred Mallach


Re: "Campaign should pass on pot," editorial, Aug. 27.

I agree that Federal Health Minister Tony Clement should leave out 
marijuana from his proposed anti-drug campaign. But I don't agree 
with those who would propose decriminalizing possession of cannabis 
as a solution either.

The Senate Committee Report in 2002 specifically cautioned against 
such a move. To decriminalize marijuana while ignoring its production 
is fruitless.

I believe that most consumers are law-abiding citizens who would 
prefer to purchase their cannabis from a legal source and not support 
the black market.

After all, if the cost is the same and the quality, availability and 
convenience are improved, the consumer will choose the legal product.

Why do I want a legal industry? As a taxpayer I want the cannabis 
industry to pay income tax and I want the consumer to pay excise tax. 
(Medical exemptees would not pay excise tax.)

By starting with a large number of licensed producers and by reducing 
the number over time, we allow today's producers to have an 
opportunity to be part of the legitimate industry. By limiting large 
industrial-sized operations we discourage the criminally organized 
groups from dominating the transition.

Of course, there will always be those who will operate outside of the 
regulated industry. And there will continue to be mechanisms to deal 
with those who do not participate in the legal market.

Fred Mallach,

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