Pubdate: Wed, 21 Nov 2001
Source: Hull Daily Mail (UK)
Copyright: 2001 Northcliffe Newspapers Group Ltd
Author: Carl Wagner, Legalise Cannabis Alliance


Geoff Ogden, Hull and East Riding Drug Action Team co-ordinator stated in 
the Mail that he "disagrees entirely" with the Home Secretary's move to 
reclassify cannabis.

He says cannabis is a gateway to hard drugs, and dismisses scientific fact 
and honest debate as "undermining the drug education programme".

As a father of six daughters, I'm concerned that someone in Mr Ogden's 
position is so committed to continuing a course of action that goes against 
logic and of sense, while seemingly wishing to stifle opinion.

So often we hear from Mr Ogden and colleagues that "cannabis is the gateway 
to hard drugs," a claim strongly conflicting with the evidence itself.

Because it is the most widely used illicit drug, cannabis is predictably 
the first illicit drug people encounter. Not surprisingly, most users of 
other illicit drugs have used cannabis first. In fact, most drug users 
begin with alcohol and nicotine, usually before they are of legal age.

There is a gateway from cannabis to heroin, but it is not the drug itself 
it is people motivated by greed and profit who have been given the perfect 
opening by the law.

Cannabis legalisation is an essential first step, but the only solution to 
the drugs problem is to legalise all drugs. Put the supply of dangerous 
chemical drugs where it should be in the hands of doctors and chemists.

That would wipe out most of the illicit dealers, recognise the nature of 
many people to try drugs, enable the provision of accurate information and 
recognise the addicts.

While I accept that Mr Ogden and colleagues have a job to do, I would ask 
that they examine the facts thoroughly.

Carl Wagner, Legalise Cannabis Alliance, Victoria Square, Ella Street, Hull.
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