Pubdate: Fri, 30 Aug 2002
Source: Ottawa Citizen (CN ON)
Copyright: 2002 The Ottawa Citizen
Author: Robert Sharpe


Re: A full and open debate, Aug. 20.

Justice Minister Martin Cauchon needs to consider that ending marijuana 
prohibition does not constitute "endorsing marijuana use." Alcohol is legal 
not because the government endorses boozing, but rather because alcohol 
prohibition proved disastrous.

Telling examples of drug war failure can be found very close to home. The 
University of Michigan's Monitoring the Future study reports that lifetime 
use of marijuana is higher in the U.S. than any European country. Yet the 
U.S. is one of the few Western countries that wastes resources punishing 
citizens who prefer marijuana to martinis.

Unlike alcohol, marijuana has never been shown to cause an overdose death, 
nor does it share the addictive properties of tobacco. The short-term 
health effects of marijuana are inconsequential compared to the long-term 
effects of criminal records. Unfortunately, marijuana represents the 
counter-culture to misguided reactionaries intent on legislating their 
version of morality. In subsidizing the prejudices of culture warriors, 
government is inadvertently subsidizing organized crime.

The drug war's distortion of immutable laws of supply and demand make an 
easily grown weed literally worth its weight in gold. The only clear 
winners in the war on some drugs are drug cartels and shameless 
tough-on-drugs politicians who've built careers on confusing drug 
prohibition's collateral damage with a relatively harmless plant. The big 
losers in this battle are the taxpayers who have been deluded into 
believing big government is the appropriate response to non-traditional 
consensual vices.

Robert Sharpe,

Washington, D.C.

Drug Policy Alliance
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