Pubdate: Mon, 07 Aug 2000
Source: Globe and Mail (Canada)
Copyright: 2000, The Globe and Mail Company
Author: Jerry Epstein, President, Drug Policy Forum of Texas


Houston -- There is precious little that the United States can teach anyone 
about drug policy; no democracy has a worse one. However, U.S. research is 
useful for all and Canada seems more likely to profit from it than we 
ourselves are.

I'm guessing that some of the Canadian resistance to legalizing marijuana, 
as suggested by William Johnson, will be based on fear of a "gateway" to 
the use of other drugs. The New York Times (March 18, 1999) called an 
Institute of Medicine report commissioned by the White House Office of 
National Drug Control Policy "the most comprehensive analysis to date of 
the medical literature about marijuana." The report itself said the gateway 
is "a social theory [which] does not suggest that the pharmacological 
qualities of marijuana make it a risk factor for progression to other drug 
use. Instead it is the [illegal] status of marijuana that makes it a 
gateway drug."

In short, we have created exactly what we claim to fear. No rational policy 
will emerge if the mythology of political rhetoric is allowed to drown out 
science. Our joint governmental stance is costly, immoral and inhumane.

O, Canada, please show us the way.

Jerry Epstein, President, Drug Policy Forum of Texas
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