Pubdate: Sun, 18 Jan 2004
Source: Liberal, The (CN ON)
Copyright: 2004, Metroland Printing, Publishing and Distributing
Author: Howard A. Doughty


Silly me.

Perhaps because I do not use marijuana, heroin and so on, I naively
imagined these substances have largely been imported from abroad.

Now, however, I have been instructed differently. Marijuana seems to
be British Columbia's top crop and, in Ontario, the conversion of an
enormous former beer factory (legal drug) into a cannabis factory
(illegal drug) is being described as just a drop in the dope bucket.

Now that I know the manufacture of mostly recreational and sometimes
medicinal drugs is an important part of Canadian agriculture, I have
one question to ask the various law enforcement agencies and advocates
who decry the proposed decriminalization of these opiates,
hallucinogens and stupefacients: which side are you on?

Prohibition does not work; it promotes organized crime. Banning
alcohol created mobster control of the booze industry. Banning other
drugs encourages mobster control of the drug industry.

It puts enormous sums of money into the hands of criminals and
destroys any possibility of effective control of substance abuse.

It denies the public benefits of the tax revenues that now go to biker
gangs, while ensuring the symbiotic relationship between law
enforcement agencies and organized crime continues.

I can understand the campaign being waged by police officials against
the decriminalization of drug possession and "trafficking". What I
cannot accept is their spurious suggestion this is a legal problem.

It is, at most, a medical problem that will only be exacerbated by
punitive remedies that do no good for victims, increase the profits of
malefactors and focus law enforcement resources on strategies that do
for drug thugs what prohibition did for mobsters in the 1930s -- make
them rich.

Howard A. Doughty

Richmond Hill
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