Pubdate: Thu, 18 Jun 1998
Date: 06/18/1998
Source: Ottawa Citizen (Canada)
Author: Gil Puder

I'm embarrassed when a parliamentarian from our part of the country
stoops to fearmongering, as Revenue Minister Herb Dhaliwal did with
his comments on decriminalization of marijuana. His "gateway'' theory,
that marijuana leads to hard drug use, has been repeatedly refuted by
scientific research, and is simply an unethical scare tactic.

Being a politician, he might want to review the 1997 Angus Reid poll
showing that 63 per cent of British Columbians favour
decriminalization. When that body of voters realizes that Mr.
Dhaliwal's department is taking their money to prohibit cannabis
(which courts are regularly finding not to be a public health
concern), he might be out of a job.

Forcing people into a black market is what exposes people to dangerous
substances, and enriches the criminal gangs that Mr. Dhaliwal's
department simply can't compete with. I hope Mr. Dhaliwal proves to be
a good accountant, because on the marijuana issue he is merely
plumbing the depths of his own ignorance.

Gil Puder