Pubdate: Tue, 10 Jun 2003
Source: Lethbridge Herald (CN AB)
Copyright: 2003 The Lethbridge Herald
Author: Bruce Symington



Imagine, if you can, the situation relative to alcohol prohibition in
the last century. The negative fallout was vast and included children
having easy access to alcohol, blindness and other physical damage
from contaminated booze, the switch from beer and wine to spirits
because bootleggers could make more money with spirits, a breakdown in
the relationship between citizens and police, speakeasies that sold
booze at all hours, thereby rendering people unfit to work the next
day, and the involvement of the criminals in production and

Now, imagine if the laws had been changed so that possession of
alcohol would have resulted in just a fine but production and
distribution would have been more heavily penalized. What would have
been the result?

Would the gangsters have stopped producing? No. Would kids have had a
harder time getting it? No. Would the quality have been upgraded? No.
Would people have stopped going blind? No. Would citizens have become
more trusting of the cops? No. Would the price have risen, thereby
robbing the families of drinkers even more? Yes.

The repeal of prohibition of alcohol and its regulation, control and
taxation have resulted in less personal and societal damage, better
relationships with the authorities, fewer health problems and taken
the production and distribution out of the hands of the gangsters.

The minor tweaking of the penalties for cannabis use and the increase
of penalties for production and sale will not solve any of the
problems inherent in the prohibition model.

Only legalization, regulation and taxation will.

As to the production by the home gardener, it will be comparable to
the people who make their own beer. A few do but most people are
unable or unwilling to do so, and simply buy a known product at the
local retailer when they want it.

When cannabis is relegalized, as it surely will be, a few people will
still grow their own, but most will buy, only then they will buy a
known product from legitimate business people and pay taxes by so
doing, unlike now, when consumers buy from criminals and pay no taxes.


Medicine Hat
- ---
MAP posted-by: Richard Lake