Pubdate: Sun, 16 Feb 2003
Source: Quesnel Cariboo Observer (CN BC)
Copyright: 2003 Quesnel Cariboo Observer
Author: Robert Sharpe



Let me get this straight. School board chair Louise Scott claims it's 
"easier for children to acquire drugs than it is to purchase alcohol or 
cigarettes," yet she opposes marijuana regulation.

There is a big difference between condoning marijuana use and protecting 
children from drugs. Decriminalization acknowledges the social reality of 
marijuana and frees users from the stigma of life-shattering criminal 
records. What's really needed is a regulated market with age controls. 
Separating the hard and soft drug markets is critical.

As long as marijuana distribution remains in the hands of organized crime, 
consumers will continue to come into contact with addictive drugs like 
cocaine. This "gateway" is the direct result of a fundamentally flawed 
policy. In the words of Canadian Senator Pierre Claude Nolin, "Scientific 
evidence overwhelmingly indicates that cannabis is substantially less 
harmful than alcohol and should be treated not as a criminal issue but as a 
social and public health issue."

Marijuana may be relatively harmless, but marijuana prohibition is deadly.

Robert Sharpe

Program Officer

Drug Policy Alliance

Washington, D.C.
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