Pubdate: Sat, 05 Mar 2005
Source: Ottawa Sun (CN ON)
Copyright: 2005 Canoe Limited Partnership
Author: Russell Barth
Note: Parenthetical remark by the Sun editor, headline by newshawk.


RE "Four officers die in marijuana raid" (Feb. 25): Typically, the
police are asking for stiffer penalties and mandatory minimum
sentences for marijuana growers.

This not only does a disservice to the fallen officers, the policy
will further endanger Canadian police and civilians.

Police simply do not have the resources, and Canadians cannot afford
to give them the resources, to ever win this "war on drugs." Cannabis
is lucrative specifically because it is illegal. As long as cannabis
is worth its weight in gold, people will continue to take big risks to
grow it.

If the sentences increase, so will the value, and so will the dangers.
If cannabis were grown by licensed growers, and sold by licensed
sellers, it would not only do more to keep cannabis out of the hands
of children, it would take billions out of the coffers of organized
crime. Regulated cannabis growing would make these clandestine growers
irrelevant, and mandatory minimum sentences have failed miserably in
the U.S., so there is absolutely no indication that it they would work

Russell Barth


(We suspect crooks would simply find another illegal endeavour, and
we' be back to square one)