Pubdate: Thu, 16 Sep 2004
Source: Calgary Herald (CN AB)
Copyright: 2004 Calgary Herald
Author: Robert Sharpe


Marijuana cafes - Re: "Pot cafes a sign of the future," Russell Barth,
Comment, Sept. 11.

Russell Barth's column was right on target. There is a big difference
between condoning marijuana use and protecting children from drugs.
The Liberal decriminalization bill acknowledges the social reality of
marijuana use and frees users from the stigma of life-shattering
criminal records. What's really needed is a regulated market with age

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 sellers of hard
drugs such as cocaine. This "gateway" is the direct result of a
fundamentally flawed policy.

Given that marijuana is arguably safer than legal alcohol, it makes no
sense to waste tax revenue on failed policies that finance organized
crime and facilitate the use of hard drugs. Drug policy reform may
send the wrong message to children, but I like to think the children
are more important than the message.

Robert Sharpe,

Washington, D.C.

Sharpe is a policy analyst with Common Sense for Drug Policy. 
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