Pubdate: Tue, 30 Nov 2004
Source: Medicine Hat News (CN AB)
Copyright: 2004 Alberta Newspaper Group, Inc.
Author: Russell Barth
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Canada)
Bookmark: (Decrim/Legalization)


An Open Letter To All Members Of Parliament:

It must be obvious to everyone by now prohibition of cannabis is a colossal 
failure, and must de repealed in favour of regulation and taxation at once. 
Cannabis is never going to go away, the war on drugs is over, and the 
police and government lost. More people grow and use it than ever before, 
and the police are so vastly outnumbered they could never catch up. The 
only people really winning here are the criminals.

Cannabis is far more popular than prohibition. According to recent NORML 
poll results, 53 per cent of Canadians said they support government 
regulation of cannabis, compared to 37 per cent who are opposed. When asked 
about the hundreds of millions of dollars Canada dedicates to marijuana 
enforcement each year, 55 per cent of respondents said that was a poor use 
of funds. Only 22 per cent said it was a good use of policing resources.

Considering prohibition is a system that spends nearly $2 billion annually 
on enforcement, courts, and corrections, fails to achieve any of its stated 
goals, ruins tens of thousands of lives every year, endangers people's 
lives, makes cannabis easier for teens to access than alcohol or tobacco, 
robs Canadians of their civil rights and civil liberties under the charter, 
robs sick and dying Canadians of a valuable source of medicine, robs 
Canadians of additional billions in annual potential tax revenue, gives 
police far too much power to invade people's privacy, and benefits 
organized crime to the tune of untold billions annually. The mild dangers, 
if any, do not warrant such extreme measures. Even if cannabis were more 
dangerous than alcohol or tobacco, prohibition would still be the wrong way 
to go about reducing use, abuse, and harm.

On the other hand, regulation and taxation of cannabis would dry up the 
black market, reduce violence and prostitution, create jobs, save billions 
every year, generate billions more in annual tax revenue, reduce teen 
access to cannabis and free up police resources.

Let's face it, if prohibition were going to work it would have worked by now.

Russell Barth

- ---