Pubdate: Wed, 25 Jan 2012
Source: Red River Valley Echo, The (CN MB)
Copyright: 2012 Altona Red River Valley Echo
Author: Greg Vandermeulen


It's time to reassess the war on drugs in Canada. That's a statement
that at least two thirds of Canadians support. Talk of decriminalizing
or legalizing marijuana has come to the forefront once again, first
because the Liberal party adopted it as a campaign plank, and now
because all the NDP leadership candidates agree.

There's no doubt the drug war has failed, but what Canadians must
decide is to what level we're willing to give up the fight.

Finding real information about drugs like marijuana isn't always easy.
Harper's Conservatives would call it a gateway drug, and point to the
massive business it is for gangs.

Those on the left would say it's harmless and should be legal and
taxed. Both sides are of course not quite correct.

Opinions vary on whether marijuana is a "gateway" drug. Sure people
who use harder drugs have first used marijuana, but so have they drank
coffee. Is it a coincidence or cause?

If the gateway argument is true, than legalizing marijuana makes
sense. That means a drug user's first step is legal. That makes the
second step a much bigger one. Currently if you've smoked a joint
you've already committed a crime, and trying another drug doesn't seem
like such a big deal.

We need to move toward legalization, that much is clear. Alcohol,
which costs society more than any other drug (with the possible
exception of nicotine), is legal. Why?

Because it can be used in moderation, even though some abuse it.

Marijuana is the same. Some can treat it as a casual drug, like having
a cold beer on a hot day. Others can't.

But we must be careful in this headlong rush to legalize and tax the

It is not harmless, no matter what some say.

One NDP leadership candidate made this rather startling observation.
"Unlike alcohol it is non-addictive", Romeo Saganash said of marijuana.

That's not true. The bottom line is that marijuana is ranked sixth in
a list of addictive drugs. Beating it out are illegal drugs like
heroin and cocaine, and legal drugs such as caffeine, alcohol and nicotine.

Anyone who has known a pothead knows the drug does no favours. Those
people are slower, less motivated, and generally speaking a little
dumber than they would be off the drug.

But anyone who thinks we're winning the war on drugs right now, should
ask themselves - what have I been smoking? 
- ---
MAP posted-by: Richard R Smith Jr.