Pubdate: Fri, 02 Dec 2011
Source: Winnipeg Free Press (CN MB)
Copyright: 2011 Winnipeg Free Press
Note: Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition December 
2, 2011 A10


Coincidental with word that a British Columbia seed company has won 
second place at the annual High Times Cannabis Cup in the 
Netherlands, comes news of a speech delivered by Prime Minister 
Stephen Harper in Vancouver defending Canada's get-tough laws against 
the use of that drug.

The two countries could hardly have different approaches to how to 
deal with the problem of drugs. Both agree that drug use is a 
definite problem, just as the abuse of alcohol and tobacco is a 
problem. In Holland, however, the sale and use of marijuana and 
hashish are controlled and regulated -- one does not need to go to 
the Mob to buy, for example, Hydra, the hashish that was crossbred 
between the strains Warlock and Haoma and brought the silver medal to 
Canada this week.

To even be able to discuss cannabis products in such terms is an 
indication of how far the industry has come from sordid exchanges in 
back alleys and dark streets in many civilized countries.

But not in Canada, as Mr. Harper made clear in Vancouver. Mr. Harper 
reaffirmed his government's intention to stiffen penalties for 
dealing in marijuana and other drugs, defending it by saying: "Drugs 
are not bad because they are illegal. They are illegal because they are bad."

They are, he said, "corrosive to society" and they" do terrible 
things to people."

Mr. Harper is right on all those counts, but one could make the same 
argument about coffee, cinnamon doughnuts or whiskey. Anything can be 
bad, corrosive or terrible to people who take it without moderation. 
So while the prime minister may be right on what are essentially the 
small points, he continues to avoid the main point -- that while 
drugs such as marijuana might be bad, making them illegal creates 
problems that are far worse.

Mr. Harper at least nodded at this truth when he said "I know (the 
drug trade) fuels a lot of criminal activity" but he is resolute in 
his intent to push through legislation that will fuel that activity 
even more fiercely, even though all the evidence indicates that 
tougher penalties don't diminish either drug use or crime associated with it.

In fact, the regulation of marijuana would accomplish precisely what 
the prime minister says he wants to accomplish -- reduce the social 
ills created by drug use, get rid of the criminal element and, not 
incidentally, funnel the billions of dollars now going to organized 
crime into government programs for the people. Those are not bad 
results for a simple act of common sense.
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