Pubdate: Thu, 05 Jan 2012
Source: Nanaimo News Bulletin (CN BC)
Copyright: 2012 John Anderson
Author: John Anderson


To the Editor,

Re: B.C. public health officers behind taxing, legalizing marijuana, Jan. 3.

The Health Officers Council of British Columbia has taken a bold step 
by urging political leaders to take control of the cannabis trade.

Organized crime now has a monopoly on a $7-billion clandestine trade 
which spawns violence, murder and unsafe communities.

Every objective outcome measure shows us how badly prohibitionist 
policies have failed to reach their declared goals. Today, marijuana 
is stronger in potency, more widely used by young people, and easier 
to obtain   despite decades of repressive laws and enforcement tactics.

The health officers are not asking us to "give up" on regulating 
harmful drugs. They're saying it's time to control cannabis like we 
do a much deadlier drug   tobacco.

Sales will be restricted from minors, quality control will be 
ensured, and every educational effort will be made to assist people 
to make healthy choices.

Given that fewer than ever Canadians are smoking tobacco, the ability 
of non-punitive policies to promote abstinence are apparent.

We don't have to put people in jail to encourage conformity.

The B.C. health officers have the moral high ground over the federal 
minister of health. Leona Aglukkaq , like her predecessors, clings to 
prohibitionist policies with the support of her government.

Her position in the federal cabinet includes the authority to improve 
the health and safety of Canadians by developing effective measures 
for regulating the cannabis trade. She should exercise that power for 
the sake of all Canadians.

John Anderson

Criminology chairman

Vancouver Island University
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