Pubdate: Mon, 13 Aug 2001
Source: Hamilton Spectator (CN ON)
Copyright: The Hamilton Spectator 2001
Author: Robert Sharpe
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Canada)


RE: 'Our marijuana laws still in the dark ages' (Aug. 4). Kudos to 
The Hamilton Spectator for an excellent editorial. Not only should 
medical marijuana be made available to those in need, but adult 
recreational use should be regulated as well.

The reason is simple: leaving the distribution of popular 
recreational drugs in the hands of organized crime puts children at 
great risk. Unlike legitimate businesses that sell liquor, illegal 
drug dealers do not check IDs for age, but they do push profitable, 
addictive drugs like heroin when given the chance. Sensible 
regulation is desperately needed to undermine the thriving black 

Marijuana is the most popular illicit drug. Unlike alcohol, which 
kills thousands annually, marijuana has never been shown to cause an 
overdose death. Marijuana may be relatively harmless, but marijuana 
prohibition is deadly. Although there is nothing inherent in 
marijuana that compels users to try harder drugs, its black market 
status puts youth in contact with criminals who push them.

Current drug policy is a gateway policy. As counterintuitive as it 
may seem, replacing marijuana prohibition with regulation would do a 
better job protecting children from drugs than the failed drug war.

- -- Robert Sharpe, Program Officer,

The Lindesmith Center Drug Policy Foundation,

Washington, D.C.
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