Pubdate: Tue, 20 Sep 2016
Source: Sentinel Review (CN ON)
Copyright: 2016 Woodstock Sentinel Review
Author: Werner Broschinski
Page: A4


I believe that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's plan to decriminalize
and regulate the production, sale and use of marijuana is correct and
should be applied to other drugs as well, like cocaine, for example.

I feel this way not because I am in favour of drug use (I wouldn't
dream of using these substances myself ), but because an iron-fisted
"war on drugs" attempt to eradicate drug use doesn't work and is
counterproductive, in the sense that greater problems are caused by
making drugs illegal than by the effects of the drugs themselves.

The failure of Prohibition in the United States in the "Roaring
Twenties" illustrates this. The abuse of alcohol is not a criminal,
but rather a medical or psychological problem that can only be solved
through the kind of spiritual regeneration offered by programs like
Alcoholics Anonymous, for example.

In the same way, drug use is not a question of criminality but an
illness and similar methods based on a medical paradigm should be used
to deal with it.

But such an enlightened and ultimately more effective approach to drug
issues is slow in arriving because there are powerful groups with a
vested interest in maintaining the status quo.

To begin with, big-time drug dealers are making billions of dollars a
year, tax-free and legalization is their worst nightmare. But
ironically, law enforcement agencies also benefit as they are paid
vast amounts of tax money to fight the first group. This means the
good guys and the bad guys have a mutual interest in the perpetuation
of the status quo.

Another group rubbing its hands with glee are the politicians, who
talk tough about the war on drugs. In many constituencies such
hard-line, no pussy-footing-around talk gets them elected and reelected.

Still another group not keen to see changes are those in the business
sector who make money from increased crime - the people that build and
staff prisons, the people that sell burglar alarms and security
services. There's big money in all of that.

And in a bizarre twist, terrorists benefit from the drug trade because
so much of the primary funding for terrorism around the world comes
from the sale of illegal drugs.

With these considerations in mind, it is my view that Justin Trudeau
is taking a step in the right direction by legalizing marijuana.

Werner Broschinski

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