Pubdate: Fri, 13 Mar 2009
Source: North Shore News (CN BC)
Copyright: 2009 North Shore News
Author: David Bratzer


Dear Editor:

Regarding columnist Wallace Craig's March 4 column Drug Legalization
Lobby Lacks Business Plan that opposed drug regulation: I am neither a
narcissistic marijuana user nor a psychosocial hard drug abuser. I am,
in fact, a member of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition.

The membership of this non-profit organization consists of police
officers, judges, prosecutors and other criminal justice
professionals. We seek to reduce crime, death, disease and addiction
by gradually ending drug prohibition.

My views, of course, do not represent those of my employer. But they
are shared by many Canadians who look to our southern neighbour and
understand that the "war on drugs" is a public policy disaster.

When it comes to prosecuting drug crimes, tough justice does not work.
Drug trafficking is a fundamentally different crime than violent or
sexual crimes such as rape.

When police officers arrest a rapist, the rapes stop. No one else
steps up to the plate and says, "I think I'll be a rapist now," which
is exactly what happens when a drug dealer is arrested. That is why
mandatory minimum sentences may be appropriate for violent crimes and
sex crimes but they are not a solution to our drug-trafficking problem.

There are other historical examples of prohibition besides the
relatively brief prohibition on alcohol. These include the lottery
(which used to be run by the mafia and was known as "the numbers") and
prizefighting (banned in many U.S. states during the 19th century). In
each case the activity was driven underground and government lost the
ability to safely regulate it.

It is important for Mr. Craig to learn there are many credible drug
policy reformers in British Columbia. We want the same end result as
Mr. Craig -- an increase in public safety -- but we disagree strongly
on how to get there.

David Bratzer

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