Pubdate: Wed, 28 Mar 2001
Source: Duncan News Leader (CN BC)
Copyright: 2001 Duncan News Leader
Author: Robert Sharpe

War On Marijuana Not Best Way To Protect Children, Spend Taxes

Dear editor,

Re your March 21 Pot ops nipped in the bud article:

Regarding the recent raids on local indoor marijuana grow operations, 
Canadian tax dollars are being wasted on anti-drug strategies that only 
make marijuana growing more profitable. The drug war's distortion of basic 
supply and demand dynamics makes an easily grown weed literally worth its 
weight in gold. With money practically growing on trees any operations 
destroyed will be replaced. And let's not kid ourselves about protecting 
children. The thriving black market has no controls for age, making it 
easier for teenagers to buy illegal drugs than beer.

There are cost-effective alternatives to the failed drug war. In Europe, 
the Netherlands has successfully reduced overall drug use by replacing 
marijuana prohibition with regulation. Separating the hard and soft drug 
markets and establishing age controls for marijuana has proven more 
effective than zero tolerance. As the most popular illicit drug in Canada, 
marijuana provides the black market contacts that introduce users to drugs 
like heroin. This "gateway" is the direct result of a fundamentally flawed 
policy. Given that marijuana is arguably safer than legal alcohol, it makes 
no sense to waste tax dollars on policies that finance organized crime and 
facilitate the use of hard drugs.

Marijuana regulation would not only generate significant tax revenue, but 
would also do a better job protecting children from drugs than the 
never-ending drug war.

Robert Sharpe, MPA Program Officer
Lindesmith Centre Drug Policy Foundation
Washington, D.C.
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