Pubdate: Thu, 07 Sep 2000
Date: 09/07/2000
Source: Guardian Weekly, The (UK)
Author: Robert Sharpe

The drug war fuels crime while failing miserably at protecting
children from drugs. Because dealers don't ID for age, children have
an easier time buying cannabis than beer. The single most effective
means of destroying the international drug trade is the legalisation
of cannabis for adults.

To maintain criminal sanctions for a plant that is arguably safer than
alcohol puts children at risk. While there is nothing inherent in
cannabis that compels users to try harder drugs, its black market
status puts users in contact with criminals who push them. Current
drug policy is effectively a gateway policy.

The Netherlands closed this gateway by separating the hard and soft
drug markets. Yet the US Drug Enforcement Administration has a long
history of criticising the Netherlands, even though it has
substantially lower rates of drug use than the US. It is obvious that
the DEA is far more concerned with maintaining job security than
minimising drug abuse.

Robert Sharpe, Students for Sensible Drug Policy, George Washington
University, Washington DC, USA