Pubdate: Tue, 06 Aug 2002
Source: Advance, Barrie, The (CN ON)
Copyright: 2002 Metroland Printing, Publishing and Distributing
Author: Robert Sharpe


Justice Minister Martin Cauchon is to be commended for making the case for
marijuana decriminalization.

There is no evidence that punitive marijuana laws do anything other than
burden otherwise law-abiding Canadians with criminal records.

Consider the experience of the United States, the former land of the free
and current record holder in citizens incarcerated.

Based on findings that criminal records are inappropriate as health
interventions and ineffective as deterrents, a majority of European Union
countries have decriminalized marijuana.

Despite draconian penalties and perhaps because of forbidden fruit appeal,
lifetime use of marijuana is higher in the U.S. than any European country.

The latest drug war fiasco to come out of the U.S. is "compassionate

This expansion of zero tolerance does not distinguish between occasional use
and chronic abuse.

Jail sentences and open-ended drug testing will be applied exclusively to
consumers of non-traditional drugs like marijuana.

Alcoholics and nicotine addicts need not fear President George W. Bush's
legendary "compassion."

Unlike alcohol, marijuana has never been shown to cause an overdose death,
nor does it share the addictive properties of tobacco. Unfortunately,
marijuana represents the counterculture to misguided reactionaries intent on
legislating their version of morality.

Canada should follow the lead of Europe and Just Say No to the American

Robert Sharpe,

Program Officer

Drug Policy Alliance

Washington, DC
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