Pubdate: Sun, 20 Jul 2014
Source: Independent on Sunday (Malta)
Copyright: 2014, Standard Publications Ltd
Author: Robert Sharpe
Page: 24


Regarding Alison Bezzina's column entitled Let's talk about drugs 
(TMIS, 13 July), the global drug war is largely a war on cannabis, by 
far the most popular illicit drug. There is a big difference between 
condoning cannabis use and protecting children from drugs. 
Decriminalisation acknowledges the social reality of cannabis and 
frees users from the stigma of lifeshattering criminal records. What 
is really needed is a regulated market with age controls.

Separating the hard and soft drug markets is critical. As long as 
organised crime controls cannabis distribution, consumers will 
continue to come into contact with sellers of hard drugs like cocaine 
and heroin. This 'gateway' is a direct result of cannabis prohibition.

Cannabis is easily less harmful than legal alcohol. The plant has 
never been shown to cause a death by overdose. It makes no sense to 
waste limited public resources on failed cannabis prohibitions that 
finance organised crime and facilitate the use of hard drugs. 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, MPA Policy Analyst, Common Sense for Drug Policy, Washington DC
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