Pubdate: Wed, 08 Jan 2003
Source: Flamborough Post (CN ON)
Copyright: 2003, Flamborough Post
Author: Robert Sharpe


Dear Editor:

Re: Legal Pot could fog up border issues, Flam. Post, Dec. 18.

The U.S. government's obsession with punishing citizens who prefer 
marijuana to martinis is hardly reason to maintain the status quo in 
Canada. After months of research the Senate's 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 baseless drug testing have led to a loss of civil liberties in 
the U.S. while failing miserably at preventing drug use. 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 are inconsequential compared to the long-term effects of 
criminal records. Canada should follow Europe and just say no to the 
American Inquisition.

Robert Sharpe, Program Officer, Drug Policy Alliance, Washington, DC
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MAP posted-by: Keith Brilhart