Pubdate: Fri, 26 Oct 2001
Source: Independent  (UK)
Section: Comment; Pg. 2
Copyright: 2001 Independent Newspapers (UK) Ltd.
Author: Robert Sharpe
Bookmark: (Cannabis)
Bookmark: (Decrim/Legalization)


Sir: Home Secretary David Blunkett is to be commended for seeking a change 
in outdated cannabis laws. The "reefer madness" myths that originally led 
to cannabis prohibition have long been discredited.  Blunkett is absolutely 
right about the need for an "honest and commonsense approach focusing 
effectively on drugs that cause most harm". Maintaining credibility is 

Youth who realise they are being lied to about cannabis often make the 
mistake of assuming that harder drugs like heroin are relatively harmless 
as well. This is a recipe for disaster. Anti-drug messages need to be 
reality-based or they may backfire when children are inevitably exposed to 
drug use among their peers.

While Britain's reclassification of cannabis is a step in the right 
direction, Blunkett needs to overcome his hesitancy to adopt the Dutch 
model, especially if he is serious about reducing the use of hard drugs 
like heroin and crack. As long as cannabis distribution remains in the 
hands of organised crime, consumers will continue to come into contact with 
pushers of hard drugs.

I would like to add that the most commonly abused drug and the one most 
often associated with violent behaviour is often overlooked in anti-drug 
messages. That drug is alcohol, and it takes more lives every year than all 
illegal drugs combined. Alcohol may be legal, but it's still the number one 
drug problem.


Program Officer

Lindesmith Center Drug Policy Foundation

Washington, DC
- ---
MAP posted-by: Terry Liittschwager