Pubdate: Tue, 15 Mar 2005
Source: Canberra Chronicle (Australia)
Copyright: 2005 Canberra Chronicle
Note: No current verified information is available for this source.
Author: M McConnell


The comments by six citizens interviewed about the recent toughening of 
cannabis laws in the ACT (The Chronicle March 8, p 3) is typical of any 
discussion about illegal drugs.  It is mostly one sided and born of 
ignorance with calls for tougher laws in the expectation that this will 
either stop the trafficking or stop people using. This response comes even 
though very tough drug laws introduced in the past have never achieved any 
of these things.  This ignorance is not necessarily the fault of those 
interviewed but rather because the other side of the debate is rarely 
allowed to be heard.

What is desperately needed is an open, honest and rational debate which 
addresses issues like the part played by the huge black market profits, the 
consequences of a criminal record for young people, the effects of school 
expulsions for drug use, and the alienation of families caused by the 
current drug laws as well as the illusory effect of the huge drug busts.

Most importantly, what is required is for our law and policy makers to 
seriously consider implementing alternative laws and policies that will 
effectively reduce the use of and harm from drugs. Until that is done we 
will continue, as Albert Einstein once defined insanity "doing the same 
thing over and over again and expecting different results".

M McConnell

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