Pubdate: Tue, 02 Feb 2016
Source: Carstairs Courier (CN AB)
Contact:  2016 Mountain View Publishing
Author: Simon Ducatel


Trudeau and the Liberal Party's campaign promise to legalize 
marijuana might not materialize any time soon, if at all.

Internationally, drug policies largely remain regressive and 
repressive control mechanisms that are apparently hell-bent on 
further fuelling drug-related violence by empowering criminal 
cartels. So any attempt to take progressive steps away from the 
monumental failure known as prohibition will face resistance from the 
UN over international law.

Yet Washington and Colorado - as well as other US states looking at 
legalization - didn't seem too concerned with what the UN or the 
international community would say. Neither did Uruguay, Amsterdam or 
Portugal, where drugs are not technically legal but have been 
decriminalized for some 15 years.

In all of these places, the situation has not only failed to 
deteriorate - as proponents of prohibition would have people believe 
- - it has arguably improved. Anyone with an interest to read up on 
Portugal's approach will learn that drug-related violence is down 
along with the spread of disease.

In places like Uruguay and Colorado, which went further than Portugal 
and fully legalized marijuana as opposed to merely decriminalizing 
it, society also did not fall apart at the seams. The greatest 
success in all of this has been the reduction of many millions of 
dollars going into the pockets of cartels.

Instead, government programs can use such money for awareness and 
rehabilitative programs.

Granted the issue should not be rushed. Among the top fears pushed on 
the public by those who back prohibition involve children. They claim 
legalizing marijuana will make it easier for youth to get their hands 
on it. Apparently, they remain oblivious to the fact that under the 
current system, it's easier for young people to get pot than booze. 
That's because licensed establishments won't sell alcohol to minors, 
while drug dealers have no such concerns.

Still, with such a major shift in policy, every angle must be 
considered - where will the product be sold, how will those 
establishments be regulated, what kind of driver's roadside test 
could be employed, and so on.

But it's long past due time to roll the ball forward towards more 
humane policy that treats addicts like human beings who need help as 
opposed to hardened criminals who deserve to be thrown into a cell.

Trudeau has the opportunity to follow the examples already set by 
places like Colorado and show the international community there is a 
better approach to drug policy - that the way we've done things for 
decades is not necessarily the right way to go.

Long gone should be the days when governments around the globe battle 
the drug lords they created through flawed policy.

Let's hope the Liberals have the moral fortitude and the backbone to 
back their campaign promise to legalize marijuana sooner rather than 
later, regardless of what the UN or international community says.

Why? Because it's 2016.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom