Pubdate: Tue, 18 May 2004
Source: Ottawa Citizen (CN ON)
Copyright: 2004 The Ottawa Citizen
Author: Robert Sharpe


Re: A welcome flame out, May 15.

Columnist Dan Gardner is right about the superiority of the Canadian
Senate's marijuana-regulation proposal over the Liberal's ill-fated
decriminalization bill. There is a big difference between condoning
marijuana use and protecting children from drugs. Decriminalization
only 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 controls.

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 limited law-enforcement
resources on failed marijuana 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.,

Policy analyst,

Common Sense for Drug Policy 
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