Pubdate: Thu, 03 Apr 2014
Source: Chief, The (CN BC)
Copyright: 2014 Robert Sharpe
Author: Robert Sharpe


Re. Ben Lypka's column ("B.C. missing its 'pot'-ential," Reporter's
Notebook, Chief, March 13).

Now that neighboring Washington State and Colorado have legalized
marijuana, Ottawa can no longer claim Canada must uphold marijuana
prohibition in order to maintain good U.S. relations.

In 2002, the Canadian Senate Special Committee on Illegal Drugs
concluded that marijuana is relatively benign, prohibition contributes
to organized crime, and law enforcement efforts have little impact on
patterns of use. Consider the experience of the former land of the
free and current world leader in citizens incarcerated.

The United States has almost double the rate of marijuana use as the
Netherlands where marijuana is legally available. Spain legalized
personal-use cultivation and has lower rates of marijuana use than the

Portugal decriminalized all drugs including heroin and cocaine and
still has lower rates of marijuana use than the U.S. If anything,
prohibition increases use by creating "forbidden fruit" appeal.

The only winners in the war on marijuana are drug cartels and
shameless tough-on-drugs politicians who deliberately confuse the drug
war's tremendous collateral damage with a comparatively harmless plant.

Robert Sharpe, MPA Policy Analyst, Common Sense for Drug Policy
Washington, D.C.  
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