Pubdate: Thu, 30 Nov 2000
Source: Evening News (UK)
Copyright: Eastern Counties Newspapers Group Ltd,2000
Author: Alun Buffry, Legalise Cannabis Alliance,


After reading the heart-breaking story of the death of Jason Smith
from a methadone overdose and the comments from coroner William
Armstrong, (Evening News, Nov 27) I felt compelled to comment.

Mr Armstrong blames cannabis as a 'gateway drug'.  Cannabis is, of
course, a plant.  It is not a 'gateway' to or from anything.

It is also an 'illegal drug'.

Although many sections of society now appreciate the huge differences
between using cannabis and using dangerous, toxic and physically
addictive drugs, this Government, like its predecessor, insists on
treating all these substances as if they were the same.

That is, they leave the supply of all these substances in the hands of
greedy and criminal pushers and dealers, many of whom may have few
qualms about leading a person from cannabis to something else.

It is people who are the gateways, and they are often motivated by
profits, the very profits that prohibition enables.

Mr Armstrong said: "I must emphasis that there is a world of
difference between this and occasional recreational use by adults."

But not, unfortunately, in law,  where possession is a crime
irrespective of quantity or frequency of use.  Through her tears
Jason's mum, has seen more clearly than most of our elected
politicians - the legalisation of drugs would create a better form of
protection than prohibition.

In a society where cannabis and drugs were legal, there would be a
difference between suppliers; one drug would not be offered to a
customer seeking a different drug.

In addition, dose and purity would be controllable, addicts recognised
at an early stage, and accurate information available.

Alun Buffry,
Legalise Cannabis Alliance
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