Pubdate: Sat, 10 Aug 2013
Source: Toronto Star (CN ON)
Copyright: 2013 The Toronto Star
Author: Craig Jones


Re: Spell out policy on pot, Editorial Aug. 5

The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice. 
The history of cannabis prohibition is long, but all errors come to an end.

Justin Trudeau may not have worked out the details yet, but history 
is clearly moving in a discernible direction and he knows it. Most 
Canadians do, too - in fact the global tide of elite and expert 
opinion speaks with one voice: cannabis prohibition cannot work in 
theory or practice. Prohibition is more harmful than use of the 
substance itself.

Strategically, there's good reason for Mr. Trudeau to hold back on 
the details. He knows - as do his opponents - that offering up any 
plan, however detailed, coherent and well considered, will as good as 
give ammunition to prohibition's defenders. That's how the game is 
played where drug policy reform is concerned: demonization, 
fear-mongering and moral panic shout down reasoned debate and have, 
in this country, since the passage of the racist Opium Act of 1908.

Curiously, however, prohibitionists are seldom required to defend 
their alliance with organized crime: for it is always organized crime 
that benefits most from social engineering catastrophes like prohibition.

If Mr. Trudeau were inclined to, he should demand to know why his 
opponents are siding with the black market profiteers who have 
successfully supplied the demand for cannabis irrespective of the 
increasingly harsh penalties in the criminal code. That would be a 
debate worth having.

In the interim, groups like ours endorse a rational, evidence-based 
regime for cannabis that undercuts the black market influence, 
regulates for purity and age of majority and erects a barrier between 
dealers and underage users. Regulation allows for controls. The 
status quo is the absence of controls.

The arc of the moral universe is long, but all errors - including 
cannabis prohibition - come to an end.

Craig Jones, NORML Canada, Kingston
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