Pubdate: Thu, 03 Apr 2003
Source: Era-Banner, The (CN ON)
Copyright: 2003 The Era-Banner
Author: Robert Sharpe


Re: Newmarket Hydro sets up snitch line, March 27.

Hazardous marijuana grow operations are a direct result of marijuana 

Legitimate farmers do not steal electricity to grow produce in the 
basements of rented homes. If legal, growing marijuana would be less 
profitable then farming tomatoes.

As it stands, the drug war distorts market forces such that an easily grown 
weed is literally worth its weight in gold.

Rather than continue to subsidize organized crime and put neighbourhoods at 
risk of fire, Canadian policymakers should ignore the reefer madness 
hysteria of the American government and, instead, look to their own Senate 
for guidance.

In the words of 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."

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, such as cocaine.

This "gateway" is the direct result of a fundamentally flawed policy.

Drug policy reform may send the wrong message to children, but I like to 
think children are more important than the message.

Robert Sharpe

Program Officer, Drug Policy Alliance
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