Pubdate: 25 Aug 1999
Source: Sackville Tribune-Post (CN NK)
Copyright: 1999 The Sackville Tribune-Post Ltd.
Contact:  80 Main Street, Sackville, NB E4L 4A7 Canada
Fax: (506) 536-4024


Marijuana crops have had a bumper year, and police departments across the
province are reporting seizures of all sizes.

And, as reported in the media last week, New Brunswick's top cop says his
officers are fighting a David and Goliath-style battle against the booming
pot business.

RCMP assistant commissioner Tim Quigley listed the societal ills brought on
by marijuana use, and how it needs to be stopped.

That got us to thinking back to the U.S.'s Prohibition days of the 1920s,
and the parallels between it and the war on drugs that rages today.

Prohibition not only failed in it goals, but added to the problems it was
intended to solve.

The law called for all importing, exporting, transporting, selling, and
manufacturing of intoxicating liquor to end. The intent was to reduce the
consumption of alcohol thereby reducing crime and corruption, and solve
social problems.

But it was ineffective because it was unenforceable, caused the explosive
growth of crime, and actually increased the amount of alcohol consumption.

These laws were flagrantly violated by bootleggers and commoners alike.
Bootleggers smuggled liquor from oversees and Canada, stole it from
government warehouses, and produced their own. Many people hid their liquor
in hip flasks, false books, hollow canes, and anything else they could
find. There were also illegal speak-easies which replaced saloons after the
start of Prohibition.

The Prohibitionists hoped it would decrease drunkenness and thereby
decrease the crime rate, especially in large cities. Although towards the
beginning of Prohibition this purpose seemed to be fulfilled, the crime
rate soon skyrocketed to nearly twice that of the pre-Prohibition period.
Major crimes such as homicides, and burglaries, increased 24 per cent
between 1920 and 1921.

Prohibition made alcohol, which previously had been perfectly legal, a
crime. The same has been done with marijuana.

Those vehemently opposed to the legalization of the drug have posed the
question: Would you want the pilot of your flight to be high on pot?

Of course, the answer is no. But neither would we want the pilot to be
drunk from alcohol, which again is perfectly legal providing one has
reached the age of majority.

Somewhere in the gray area is the notion of personal responsibility. We are
all responsible for how we treat our bodies. What we eat and drink and
otherwise ingest.

Perhaps it's time the law on marijuana is rethought.

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