Pubdate: Wed, 18 Sep 2002
Source: West Australian (Australia)
Copyright: 2002 West Australian Newspapers Limited
Author: Niall Young


CANNABIS regulation is long overdue. One of the arguments used against 
regulation of the cannabis industry is that it would somehow condone the 
use of cannabis or increase the prevalence of cannabis use.

Regulating alcohol, tobacco, gambling and prostitution in no way condones 
these activities. Similarly, reducing penalties associated with simple 
cannabis possession, cultivation and use has not affected the growth of 
cannabis use throughout Europe and in other Australian States. Prohibition 
areas consistently report the highest rates of illicit drug use and growth 
throughout the world.

However, the reality is that cannabis has existed throughout history and 
will continue to exist - regulated or otherwise - while there is money to 
be made from it. Any government is faced ultimately with a choice between 
turning a blind eye to the industry or regulating it.

The third option, of course, is the strict prohibition that we have now. 
This has not worked and has driven the industry underground and into the 
waiting hands of organised crime. Cannabis is recognised by the World 
Health Organisation, The House of Lords and the Canadian Senate Committee 
as being far safer than both alcohol and tobacco. In fact, the most 
significant harm associated with cannabis is caused by prohibition itself.

The only long-term solution is to regulate the entire industry, from 
cultivation right through to distribution and sale. Prohibition does not work.
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