Pubdate: Wed, 18 Sep 2002
Source: Nelson Daily News (CN BC)
Copyright: 2002 Nelson Daily News
Author: Robert Sharpe
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Canada)
Bookmark: (Decrim/Legalization)


To the Editor,

In regards to "Slocan Valley's fields of green" (NDN Monday, September 16, 

The RCMP's marijuana eradication efforts are no doubt well-intended, but 
ultimately counter-productive.  The drug war's distortion of immutable laws 
of supply and demand make an easily grown weed literally worth its weight 
in gold.  Canadian tax dollars are currently being wasted on anti-drug 
strategies that only make marijuana growing more profitable.

The Senate recently offered a common sense alternative.  After months of 
research the Special Committee on Illegal Drugs concluded that marijuana is 
relatively benign, marijuana prohibition contributes to organized crime, 
and law enforcement efforts have little impact on patterns of use.

Consider the experience of the former land of the free and current record 
holder in citizens incarcerated.  The steady rise in police searches on 
public transit, drug-sniffing dogs in schools and suspicionless drug 
testing have led to a loss of civil liberties in the United States, while 
failing miserably at preventing drug use.

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

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 longterm 
effects of criminal records.  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 Inquisition.

The results of a comparative study of European and U.S. rates of drug use 
can be found at:

Robert Sharpe, M.P.A., Program Officer, Drug Policy Alliance Washington, DC 
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MAP posted-by: Terry Liittschwager