Pubdate: Wed, 02 Mar 2005
Source: Ottawa Sun (CN ON)
Copyright: 2005 Canoe Limited Partnership
Author: Robert Sharpe
Note: Titled by MAP, parenthetical remark by Sun


RE "DRIVE for legal marijuana has a few potholes," by Ike Awgu (Feb. 26): 
There is a big difference between condoning marijuana use and protecting 
children from drugs. The 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 controls.

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 like cocaine. This 
"gateway" is the direct result of a flawed policy.

Given that marijuana is arguably safer than legal alcohol, it makes no 
sense to waste scarce resources 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

Policy Analyst, Common Sense for Drug Policy

(We assume everyone on both sides of the argument would say the same thing)
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom