Pubdate: Tue, 06 Oct 2015
Source: Beacon Herald, The (CN ON)
Copyright: 2015 Osprey Media Group Inc.
Author: Ken Robertson
Note: Ken Robertson is a former Hamilton, Ont., police chief who 
retired in 2003.
Page: 5


I heard Liberal leader Justin Trudeau promoting legalization of 
marijuana and asked, why aren't Canadian leaders speaking out? As a 
parent, I have serious concerns. Some may view me, a former police 
chief, as an ideologue, but I've considered both sides of this issue.

It's said that for every complex problem there is an answer that is 
clear, simple and wrong, and Trudeau's proposal meets this standard.

Public opinion and criminologists have questioned the success of the 
war on drugs. As a former police officer, I admit it hasn't been a 
resounding success. The goal was to reduce the supply of drugs and 
its toll. Police have worked hard, but still, the problem continues.

Some leaders propose the other traditional approach, legalization. 
The war on drugs has problems, but legalization has the potential to 
make things much worse. Former New York mayor Ed Koch said it best: 
"Drug legalization is like trying to extinguish a fire with napalm."

Canadians should demand better from drug enforcement and demand drug 
addiction-prevention and treatment.

The Colorado Springs Gazette recently reviewed the results of 
legalization in that state. Highlights included concerns about pot 
shrinking the brains of teenagers, a thriving black market for 
out-of-state sales, increases in drug impaired drivers and a tripling 
of explosions from hashish production.

Trudeau has ignored problems associated with legalizing marijuana. 
Society hasn't learned from the death, destruction and health costs 
of impaired driving, alcoholism and tobacco products.

Proponents promise decreases in crime, but common sense and 
experience dictate otherwise. Drug abusers and addicts commit crime 
to buy drugs, legal or illegal, and any increase in users means 
potential increases in crime. Crimes committed while under the 
influence of drugs will increase, starting with drug-impaired driving.

Proponents believe government regulation will eliminate organized 
crime from the drug business. We know organized crime makes billions 
of dollars in the tobacco black market in Canada, and in Colorado we 
see organized crime involvement in black market for drugs.

Proponents promote legalization's potential tax revenues from 
licensing and sales of marijuana without offsetting costs associated 
with birth defects, workplace absences, domestic violence and health 
care. The International Association of Chiefs of Police projected tax 
revenues from legalized marijuana in California could reach $1.4 
million, while losses from marijuana impaired driving crashes alone 
could reach $4 billion.

Medical professionals are clear legalization will increase addiction 
levels. The compassionate response is not legalization but to do 
everything we can to prevent addiction.

New Hampshire-based People Who Care propose decriminalization for 
marijuana possession consistent with the Canadian Association of 
Chiefs of Police. It saves badly needed police resources and includes 
opportunities for drug diversion and treatment for chronic abusers.

Real solutions for the problems associated with drug abuse require a 
multifaceted approach, including drug treatment and prevention 
(demand reduction), which has been sadly underfunded by all governments.

While Canadians have reason to question the success of the 
traditional war on illicit drugs during the last 30 years, they 
should not be fooled by Trudeau's proposals.

Parents and community leaders who care about the future of this 
country need to speak out and demand alternatives that will help stem 
the tide of abuse and addiction before we throw in the towel and 
surrender to legalization.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom