Pubdate: Thu, 26 Apr 2012
Source: Intelligencer, The (CN ON)
Copyright: 2012, Osprey Media Group Inc.
Author: Robert Sharpe


Re: Time to get off the pot (April 17)

Lost in the debate over marijuana is the ugly truth behind marijuana 
prohibition. North America's marijuana laws are based on culture and 
xenophobia, not science. The first marijuana laws were a racist 
reaction to Mexican immigration during the early 1900s.

Writing under the pen name Janey Canuck, Emily Murphy warned 
Canadians about the dread reefer and its association with non-white 
immigrants. The sensationalist yellow journalism of William Randolph 
Hearst led to its criminalization in the United States.

Dire warnings that marijuana inspires homicidal rages have been 
counterproductive at best. White North Americans did not even begin 
to smoke marijuana until a soon-to-be entrenched government 
bureaucracy began funding reefer madness propaganda.

When threatened, the drug war gravy train predictably decries the 
"message" that drug policy reform sends to children. There is a big 
difference between condoning marijuana use and protecting children from drugs.

Decriminalization acknowledges the social reality of marijuana and 
frees users from the stigma of criminal records. What's really needed 
is a regulated market with age controls.

As long as organized crime controls marijuana distribution, consumers 
will continue to come into contact with addictive drugs like cocaine 
and heroin. This "gateway" is a direct result of marijuana prohibition.

Drug policy reform may send the wrong message to children, but I like 
to think the children are more important than the message.

Robert Sharpe

Policy Analyst

Common Sense for Drug Policy
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