Pubdate: Fri, 25 Mar 2005
Source: Times, The (UK)
Copyright: 2005 Times Newspapers Ltd
Author: Robert Sharpe


Sir, David Blunkett's reclassification of cannabis (Comment, March 21) was 
merely a step in the right direction. There is a big difference between 
condoning cannabis use and protecting children from drugs.

Decriminalisation acknowledges the social reality of cannabis and protects 
users from being given 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 cannabis distribution remains in the hands of organised crime, 
consumers will continue to come into contact with sellers of hard drugs 
such as crack cocaine. Given that cannabis is arguably safer than legal 
alcohol, it makes no sense to waste tax revenue on failed policies that 
finance organised 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.

Sincerely, ROBERT SHARPE (Policy analyst), Common Sense for Drug Policy
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