Pubdate: Wed, 11 Sep 2002
Source: Boston Weekly Dig (MA)
Copyright: 2002 Boston Weekly Dig
Author: Thomas Angell
Note: Headline by Newshawk/Author


Not so much to my surprise, I read yesterday that the Canadian Senate
Special Committee on Illegal Drugs, as the culmination of a two-year study,
released a 600-page document recommending that marijuana be legalized and
amnesty be given to those in jail for marijuana related offenses.

It seems as if the world is starting to move toward common sense as far as
marijuana policy goes. Well, at least the rest of the world. In addition to
Canada's big announcement, Great Britain recently announced that it will
decriminalize marijuana possession by next summer. Add these to the
Netherlands and all the other countries that have started to liberalize
their marijuana laws such as Portugal and Italy, and you yield a result that
doesn't add up when the United States factors in.

The federal Drug Enforcement Administration is aggressively fighting the War
on Drugs as hard now as it has ever been. The DEA has, in recent months,
been raiding medical cannabis dispensaries that operate legally under state
law. Nine states now have laws on the books providing protection to medical
marijuana patients from arrest by local cops. However, these state laws, in
practice, have been superceded by federal law.

Also add to the equation the November ballot initiative in Nevada that would
legalize possession of three ounces of marijuana and set up a taxed
distribution system, and the one in Arizona that would decriminalize
marijuana possession. Things just don't add up when federal and state law is
in harsh conflict.

Clearly, the United States is lagging behind the rest of the world in
regards to marijuana policy. It's time for the Bush Administration, as well
as Congress, to wake up and stop wasting taxpayers' money on processing
petty marijuana arrests, especially when patients are being arrested. The
government should be concentrating on important matters like health care,
corporate responsibility and protecting Americans from the threat of

Tom Angell

President, University of Rhode Island Students for Sensible Drug Policy
- ---
MAP posted-by: Josh