Pubdate: Wed, 03 Oct 2012
Source: Vancouver Sun (CN BC)
Copyright: 2012 The Vancouver Sun
Author: Matthew M. Elrod


Re: Potent marijuana is a danger to society, Letters, Oct. 1

Letter writer Rob Brandreth-Gibbs aptly demonstrated the disconnect 
in the public debate over cannabis policy.

Diehard defenders of the perpetual war on weed allege that cannabis 
causes cancer, psychosis and carnage on our highways.

Cannabis consumers naturally come to the defence of their drug of 
choice with peer-reviewed research proving the opposite, as though we 
were arguing over whether or not cannabis should exist.

The question we need to ask our-selves is: What is the optimal (not 
utopian) regulatory model for reducing the costs and maximizing the 
benefits of cannabis in society?

There is no evidence that cannabis laws and their enforcement reduce 
availability or usage rates.

We know this from comparing jurisdictions with differing enforcement 
levels and penalties, and by tracking changes after enforcement and 
penal-ties are ratcheted up or relaxed.

As Brandreth-Gibbs rightly observed, we have been quite successful at 
reducing tobacco use with education, prevention and treatment, 
despite the fact that tobacco is arguably as difficult to quit as heroin.

For several years, more teenagers have graduated from secondary 
school having tried cannabis than tobacco, and they consistently 
report that cannabis is easier to obtain than alcohol.

More potent and easily concealed drugs are an inevitable consequence 
of drug prohibition.

During alcohol prohibition, consumers switched from beer and wine to moonshine.

Opium has become heroin, coca has become cocaine, cocaine has become 
crack and khat has become "bath salts."

The more harmful the substance, the less it makes sense to abdicate 
control of it to criminals and teenagers who sell myriad drugs of 
unknown potency, purity and provenance, tax free, on commission, to 
anyone of any age, anytime, anywhere, no questions asked.

We have more control over cat food than the so-called controlled 
drugs and substances.

Matthew M. Elrod

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